W. Wallace McDowell Award

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About the W. Wallace McDowell Award

About the W. Wallace McDowell Award


Currently accepting nominations
Nomination Deadline: 15 October 2016
The award nomination requires a minimum of 3 endorsements.


A certificate and $2,000 honorarium are presented for outstanding recent theoretical, design, educational, practical, or other similar innovative contributions that fall within the scope of Computer Society interest. Learn more about W. Wallace McDowell

McDowell Past Recipients

2015 Viktor K. Prasanna
For fundamental algorithmic and application specific architectural contributions to reconfigurable computing.
2014 Hanan Samet For fundamental contributions to the development of multidimensional spatial data structures and indexing, translation validation, and proof-carrying code.
2013 Maurice Herlihy For fundamental contributions to the theory and practice of multi-processor computation.
2012 Ronald Fagin For fundamental and lasting contributions to the theory of databases.
2011 Ian F. Akyildiz For pioneering contributions to wireless sensor network architectures and communication protocols.
2009 Jiawei Han For significant contributions to knowledge discovery and data mining.
2008 Krishna V. Palem For pioneering contributions to the algorithmic, compilation, and architectural foundations of embedded computing.
2007 Anil K. Jain For pioneering contributions to theory, technique, and practice of pattern recognition, computer vision, and biometric recognition systems.
2006 Benjamin W. Wah For fundamental contributions to the theory and applications of nonlinear and resource-constrained optimization.
2005 Krishan K. Sabnani For seminal contributions to networking protocols and to wireless data networks.
2004 Simon Lam For outstanding fundamental contributions in network protocols and security services.
2003 Sartaj K. Sahni For contributions to the theory of NP-hard and NP-complete problems.
2002 Jaishankar M. Menon For leading contributions on the architecture and design of data storage systems and RAID technology.
2001 Pradeep K. Khosla For significant contributions to the design of re-configurable real-time software systems, and for significant contributions to undergraduate and graduate education in electrical and computer engineering and robotics.
2000 Raymond Ozzie For his vision, determination, and programming skill in the development of Lotus Notes, a program that enables groups of people to work collaboratively over computer networks.
1999 Yale N. Patt For your impact on the high performance microprocessor industry via a combination of important contributions to both engineering and education.
1998 Tilak Agerwala For outstanding contributions to the development of high performance computers.
1997 Marc Andreessen & Eric Bina For developing a multi-platform browsing tool for the World Wide Web.
1996 Timothy Berners-Lee For innovative invention of the World Wide Web, which extends hypertext to distributed information, which has brought about a revolutionary transformation in the use of computers and networks.
1995 Kenneth W. Kennedy For important contributions to theory and practice of compiler optimization and leadership in the development of software for parallel computation.
1994 Federico Faggin For the development of the Silicon Gate Process, and the first commercial microprocessor.
1990 Lawrence G. Roberts For architecting packet switching technology and bringing it into practical use by means of the ARPA network.
1989 Edward B. Eichelberger & Thomas W. Williams For developing the level-sensitive scan technique of testing solid-state logic circuits and for leading, defining, and promoting design for testability concepts.
1988 John W. Poduska, Sr. For his continued creative contributions to hardware and software developments and for management expertise in bringing them to products.
1987 Sidney Fernbach For continuously challenging, inspiring, and supporting American designers and industry to produce many successive generations of super computers.
1985 William D. Strecker For being principal designer of the VAX architecture and for contributions to local area networks, high-performance interconnects, caches, and memory hierarchies.
1984 Thomas M. McWilliams Lawrence C. Widdoes, Jr. For creating the structured computer-aided logic (SCALD) design methodology, which is the basis for many of the successful computer-aided engineering systems used in the industry.
1983 Daniel L. Slotnick For his pioneering contributions to centrally controlled parallel computers and for his achievement in creating the parallel computer ILLIAC IV.
1982 Rex Rice For his outstanding technical and managerial contributions to computer development through the invention of the universally utilized dual-in-line semi-conductor component package, and the design and production of the first large LSI semi-conductor memory systems.
1981 Maurice V. Wilkes For a lifetime of innovative technical contributions to the computer field in the areas of software engineering, structured programming, distributed computing, data base structures, time-sharing, storage hierarchies, paging, and microprogramming.
1980 Donald E. Knuth For his many contributions to software engineering and education and for the excellence of his scholarship and creativity in organizing vast subject areas of computer science so that they are accessible to all segments of the computing community.
1979 Grace Murray Hopper For her combination of technical skill, leadership, teaching capability, and single-minded drive for the invention, adoption, and standardization of high-level programming languages.
1978 Gordon E. Moore For outstanding contributions to research and development of semi-conductor components and his insights and leadership in the micro-processor and semi conductor memory fields.
1977 Robert S. Barton For his innovative architectural computer concepts, such as stack processing, data stored with self-describing tags, and the direct execution of higher level languages, as embodied in the B-5000 and successor machines.
1976 Gene M. Amdahl For his contributions to the architecture and design of computer systems, and for his achievements in promoting advancements in the computer state of the art through business enterprise.
1975 C. Gordon Bell For outstanding contributions in the areas of technical design, education, and publications influential in developing the computer field.
1974 Shmuel Winograd For his pioneering work in computational complexity and for stimulating further research on the scientific basis for evaluating the efficiency of computational algorithms.
1973 David A. Huffman For his contributions to the solution of sequential circuit problems and coding theory, and for his leadership as a teacher.
1972 Jean A. Hoerni For significantly influencing the architecture and design of data processing systems by inventing the planar process of semi-conductor circuit fabrication -- the development that made possible the economical mass production of reliable integrated circuits and semi-conductor memories.
1971 Tom Kilburn For his achievement in designing and building some of the first-- as well as some of the most powerful -- computers in the world.
1970 Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. For his significant contributions to computer architecture and programming and his leadership in cooperative efforts to further education in the computer field.
1969 Herman Lukoff For his insight and leadership in solving primary problems of early computers and his continuing contributions that have paved the way for tomorrows computing systems.
1968 Seymour R. Cray For his continuing technical contributions to computer development through design automation and system definition, and for outstanding managerial leadership in producing a series of large scale computers.
1967 John W. Backus For his early and continuing contribution to the field of higher-level languages, in particular for is conception and leadership resulting in the completion of the first FORTRAN projects; and for his work in syntactical forms incorporated in ALGOL.
1966 Fernando J. Corbato For his pioneering work in organizing and spearheading the early development of the first practical large-scale time-sharing computer system, and for his tireless efforts in providing direction for the entire time-sharing concept.


McDowell Subcommittee Chair

2016 W. Wallace McDowell Award Subcommittee Chair

Scott Mahlke, University of Michigan

Deadline for 2017 nominations is 15 OCT 2016


(Must sign in with your free IEEE account)

2015 nominations are still under review.  Winner(s) will be announced in the CS Press Room around February - March 2016.

McDowell Press Release

University of Southern California Professor Viktor K. Prasanna Named Recipient of 2015 IEEE-CS Wallace McDowell Award

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 8 April 2015 – Viktor K. Prasanna, the Charles Lee Powell Chair in Engineering and professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Southern California, has been named 2015 recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s prestigious W. Wallace McDowell Award for his contributions to reconfigurable computing.
Prasanna, also known as V. K. Prasanna Kumar, was cited “for fundamental algorithmic and application-specific architectural contributions to reconfigurable computing.” Director of USC’s Center for Energy Informatics and executive director of the USC-Infosys Center for Advanced Software Technologies, Prasanna is also an associate member of the Center for Applied Mathematical Sciences.
He leads the integrated optimizations efforts at the USC-Chevron Center of Excellence for Research and Academic Training on Interactive Smart Oilfield Technologies (CiSoft) and the demand response optimizations in the LA Smartgrid project. His research interests include high-performance computing, parallel and distributed systems, reconfigurable computing, cloud computing, and embedded systems. 
He received his BS in electronics engineering from Bangalore University; MS from the School of Automation, Indian Institute of Science; and Ph.D in computer science from the Pennsylvania State University.
Prasanna has published extensively and consulted for industries in the above areas. He is Steering Committee Co-Chair of the International Parallel & Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS), and was founding chair of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Parallel Processing. He is a Fellow of IEEE, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a recipient of the 2005 Okawa Foundation Grant. He received an Outstanding Engineering Alumnus Award from the Pennsylvania State University in 2009. 
The McDowell Award is given to individuals for outstanding recent theoretical, design, educational, practical, or other innovative contributions in the field of computing. The award may be given for a single contribution of great merit or a series of lesser contributions that have had or are expected to have an important influence on the computer field. It consists of a bronze medal and a $2,000 honorarium. 
One of computing’s most prestigious individual honors, the W. Wallace McDowell Award has a list of past winners that reads like a who’s who of industry giants. They include FORTRAN creator John W. Backus (1967); supercomputer pioneers Seymour Cray (1968), Gene Amdahl (1976), and Ken Kennedy (1995); the architect of IBM’s mainframe computer Frederick Brooks (1970); Intel Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore (1978); Donald Knuth, the father of algorithm analysis (1980); microprocessor inventor Federico Faggin (1994); World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee (1996); Lotus Notes creator and Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie (2000); and IBM Fellow Ronald Fagin (2012).
McDowell, who spent decades working for IBM, directed development of the first commercial electronic calculator. He was later responsible for development of major advances, including IBM’s card-programmed calculator, magnetic drums and tape units, magnetic core and disc storage, the company’s “700” systems, and the Naval Ordinance Research Calculator. For more information, visit http://www.computer.org/portal/web/awards/wallace.