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John Hennessy
John Hennessy
Profile of John Hennessy Biography of John Hennessy Interview with John Hennessy John Hennessy Photo Gallery

John Hennessy Profile

President of Stanford University

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  John Hennessy

In the 1960s and '70s, information technology was defined by large mainframe systems, running instructions printed on punch cards or large spools of tape. Programming was conducted in a dense, arcane vocabulary of formulaic commands, requiring lines and lines of code to accomplish simple tasks. In the 1980s, the information landscape was transformed by the microprocessor -- hyper-efficient circuitry that is the heart of the personal computer and all the computerized devices people around the world employ in their daily lives.

This revolution could not have occurred without a transformation in computer architecture, the creation of Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC). Crucial developments in this process took place at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, under the direction of a young scientist named John Hennessy. After pioneering the revolutionary technology in the university setting, Hennessy founded a company, MIPS Technology, to take RISC from the laboratory to homes and offices around the world.

Today, the region around Palo Alto is known the world over as the epicenter of innovation in information technology -- Silicon Valley. John Hennessy served as the President of Stanford University for 15 years, a period that saw the university become the nation's most selective undergraduate institution, as well as a world leader in research and technology. In the long run, John Hennessy's historic contributions to computer science may be eclipsed by his leadership in preparing a new generation of scientists, entrepreneurs, scholars and statesmen.

This page last revised on Jun 15, 2015 15:50 EDT
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