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John L. Hennessy


Director, Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program


James F. and Mary Lynn Gibbons Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science 


Stanford University



Contact Information

Denning House

580 Lomita Dr.

Stanford, CA 94305

Telephone: 650-724-1343

Email: hennessy@stanford.edu


Assistant: Celeste Browne (cbrowne@stanford.edu)


Research Interests

Computer Architecture and Compiler Technology


Brief Biography

Professor Hennessy initiated the MIPS project at Stanford in 1981. MIPS is a high- performance Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC), built in VLSI, and was one of the first three experimental RISC architectures. In addition to his role in the basic research, Hennessy played a key role in transferring this technology to industry. During a sabbatical leave from Stanford in 1984-85, he cofounded MIPS Computer Systems (later MIPS Technologies Inc. and now part of Imagination Technologies), which specializes in the production of chips based on these concepts. He also led the Stanford DASH (Distributed Architecture for Shared Memory) multiprocessor project. DASH was the first scalable shared memory multiprocessor with hardware-supported cache coherence.  In the 1990s, he served as the Founding Chairman of the Board of Atheros, an early wireless chipset company, now part of Qualcomm.  Hennessy is also the coauthor (with David A. Patterson) of two widely used textbooks in computer architecture.


In addition to his work as a Professor at Stanford, he has served as Chair of the Department of Computer Science (1994-96), Dean of the School of Engineering (1996-99), Provost (1999-2000), and President (2000-2016). He is currently the Director of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program, which each year will select 100 new graduate scholars from around the world to receive a full scholarship (with stipend) to pursue a wide-ranging graduate education at Stanford, with the goal of developing a new generation of global leaders.


Hennessy is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. His many awards include the IEEE Medal of Honor (the highest award given by IEEE), the Turing Award and the John von Neumann medal (both jointly with David Patterson), the Morris Chang Exemplary Leadership Award (from the Global Semiconductor Alliance), the Carnegie Academic Leadership Award, and ten honorary doctorates. He currently serves on the boards of Alphabet (formerly Google), the Chang-Zuckberg Biohub, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.




Professional Curriculum Vitae, Publications, and Talks 


President Emeritus Website with biography, speeches, etc.

Last Changed 2/6/2020