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Pioneer of Multicore Processor Design Receives ACM-IEEE CS Eckert-Mauchly Award


June 7, 2023

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ACM today announced that Kunle Olukotuna professor at Stanford University, is the recipient of the ACM-IEEE CS Eckert-Mauchly Award for contributions and leadership in the development of parallel systems, especially multicore and multithreaded processors.

In the early 1990s, Olukotun became a leading designer of a new kind of microprocessor known as a "chip multiprocessor"—today called a "multicore processor." His work demonstrated the performance advantages of multicore processors over the existing microprocessor designs at the time. He included these ideas in a landmark paper presented at the ACM Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS 1996), entitled "The Case for a Single-Chip Multiprocessor." This paper received the ASPLOS Most Influential Paper Award 15 years later. Olukotun's multicore design eventually became the industry standard.

His insights on multicore processors and thread-level speculation research laid the foundation for Olukotun's work on fine-grained multithreading, a technique which improves the overall efficiency of computer processors (CPUs). These designs were the basis for Afara WebSystems, a server company Olukotun founded that was eventually acquired by Sun (and later Oracle). Sun Microsystems used Olukotun's designs as a foundation for its Niagara chips, which were recognized for their outstanding performance and energy efficiency. The Niagara family of chips are now used in all of Oracle's SPARC-based servers.

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