William J. Dally

2004 Seymour Cray Award Recipient
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“For fundamental contributions to the design and engineering of high-performance interconnection networks, parallel computer architectures, and high-speed signaling technology”


William James "Bill" Dally is the Willard R. and Inez Kerr Bell Professor in the Stanford University School of Engineering and Chairman of the Computer Science Department at Stanford. Previously he taught at MIT where he and his group built the J–Machine and the M–Machine, parallel machines emphasizing low overhead synchronization and communication. Prior to that, at Bell Telephone Laboratories he contributed to the design of the BELLMAC32, an early 32-bit microprocessor, and designed the MARS hardware accelerator.

He has developed a number of techniques used in modern interconnection networks including routing-based deadlock avoidance, wormhole routing, link-level retry, virtual channels, global adaptive routing, and high-radix routers. He has developed efficient mechanisms for communication, synchronization, and naming in parallel computers including message-driven computing and fast capability-based addressing. He has developed a number of stream processors starting in 1995 including Imagine, for graphics, signal, and Image processing, and Merrimac, for scientific computing.

He was elected a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery in 2002, and a Fellow of the IEEE, also in 2002. He received the ACM/SIGARCH Maurice Wilkes Award in 2000 and the Seymour Cray Computer Science and Engineering Award in 2004. In 2007 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2009 the National Academy of Engineering.

He has published over 200 papers in these areas and is an author of the textbooks "Digital Systems Engineering" with John Poulton, and "Principles and Practices of Interconnection Networks" with Brian Towles. He has been inventor or coinventor on over 50 granted patents and has several more pending.

He received the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, the M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Caltech. At Caltech he designed the MOSSIM Simulation Engine and the Torus Routing Chip.

Bill's corporate involvements include various collaborations at Cray Research since 1989, internet router work at Avici Systems starting in 1997, CTO at Velio Communications from 1999 until its 2003 acquisition by LSI Logic, founder and former chairman of Stream Processors, Inc., and most recently, chief scientist and vice president of NVIDIA.