UCLA’s Algirdas Avižienis Honored with Eckert-Mauchly Award

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 21 May, 2012 -- ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) and the IEEE Computer Society will jointly present the Eckert-Mauchly Award to Algirdas Avižienis of the University of California, Los Angeles for fundamental contributions to fault-tolerant computer architecture and computer arithmetic. His conceptual designs led to construction of the Self-Testing and Repairing (STAR) computer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at California Institute of Technology, which was instrumental to the JPL mission to explore space. The Eckert-Mauchly award is known as the computer architecture community’s most prestigious award. Avižienis will receive the 2012 Eckert-Mauchly Award at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture on 12 June in Portland, Oregon.

Avižienis coined the term Fault-Tolerant Computing to capture the unique aspects of his ideas for creating a low-power, long life computer using self-repairing techniques. He chaired the first IEEE Technical Committee on Fault-Tolerant Computing in 1969, and established the first international conference. Moving to UCLA from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he expanded the scope of his research to fault-tolerant system architecture and dependability modeling. He extended his work on error-detecting codes for VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) design, resulting in new techniques to implement self-checking programmable logic arrays and improved chip yields.

Continuing his contributions to the science of dependable computing, Avižienis addressed ways to provide tolerance against software faults through Multi-Version Programming. He subsequently developed redundant number systems for fast digital arithmetic, a critical element in the field of digital arithmetic and created efficient algorithms for error-coded operations.

In addition to mentoring a large number of Ph.D. and M.S. students, Avižienis established one of the first graduate courses in the US dedicated to computer algorithms and processors. When Lithuania achieved independence in 1990, he helped establish western-style research and Ph.D. programs at the national university of Lithuania, Vytautas Magnus, which is located in his home town.

A Fellow of IEEE, he is a recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Information Systems Award and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Exceptional Service Award. He also received the IEEE Computer Society Technical Achievement Award and the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) Silver Core Award. He earned B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

ACM and the IEEE Computer Society co-sponsor the Eckert-Mauchly Award, which was initiated in 1979. It recognizes contributions to computer and digital systems architecture and comes with a $5,000 prize. The award was named for John Presper Eckert and John William Mauchly, who collaborated on the design and construction of the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), the pioneering large-scale electronic computing machine, which was completed in 1947.

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