Dr. Ravi Nair of IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center Selected to Receive 2018 IEEE Computer Society B. Ramakrishna Rau Award

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Ravi NairLOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 13 September 2018 – The IEEE Computer Society awards committee named Dr. Ravi Nair as the recipient of the 2018 B. Ramakrishna Rau Award, which honors significant contributions in the field of computer microarchitecture and compiler code generation.

Dr. Nair is being recognized “for contributions to branch prediction in processors, microarchitecture techniques in heterogeneous processing, microarchitecture support for virtual machines, and near-memory processing.”

A researcher at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Dr. Nair is currently working in the area of artificial intelligence (AI), aiming to understand how AI can be made more effective, not only from a performance point of view, but also from an ethical point of view.

Early in his career, Dr. Nair was active in the area of Electronic Design Automation, especially test pattern generation for memories, system diagnosis, and integrated circuit layout. He co-designed, built, and programmed the first parallel processor in IBM Research, a Z80-based 64-processor special purpose machine for integrated circuit layout. Dr. Nair then worked on the microarchitecture of IBM’s RISC and mainframe processors, particularly on branch prediction, instruction fetch design, data-flow, and multithreading techniques.

He worked on several heterogeneous architectures to exploit instruction-level and data-level parallelism. Notable among these are the DIF (Dynamic Instruction Formatting) architecture, the IBM Cell processor architecture, and the Active Memory Cube, the last of which merges concepts in heterogeneous computing with concepts in near-data processing to meet the stringent power, scalability, and performance requirements of future supercomputers.

Dr. Nair has also worked in the area of multiprocessor virtualization, approximate computing, and distributed deep learning.

In all these areas, Dr. Nair has published extensively, with 46 papers in journals and conferences, 15 research reports and 68 US patents. He has also co-authored a book entitled “Virtual Machines: Versatile Platforms for Systems and Processes.”

Computer Society President Hironori Kasahara (left) presents award to Dr. Ravi Nair.
Computer Society President Hironori Kasahara (left) presents award to Dr. Ravi Nair.

A Fellow of the IEEE, Dr. Nair earned several awards for his work at IBM, where he is a Distinguished Research Staff Member, a member of the Academy of Technology, and a Master Inventor.

Dr. Nair joined IBM after receiving a Bachelor of Technology in electronics and electrical communication from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While at IBM, he spent a sabbatical year at Princeton University and taught at Columbia University.

The 2018 Rau award was presented at the MICRO-51 Conference, scheduled for October 20-24, 2018 in Fukuoka, Japan.

A certificate and a $2,000 honorarium are awarded by the Computer Society in recognition of important work related to microarchitectural technology, including both hardware and compiler optimization.

The B. Ramakrishna Rau Award, established in memory of B. Ramakrishna Rau, recognizes Rau’s distinguished career in promoting and expanding the use of innovative computer microarchitecture techniques, including his innovation in compiler technology, his leadership in academic and industrial computer architecture, and his extremely high personal and ethical standards.

Further information about the award, including a list of past recipients, is available at www.computer.org/volunteering/awards/rau.

About IEEE Computer Society

The IEEE Computer Society, a not-for-profit organization, is the world’s home for computer science, engineering, and technology.  A global leader in providing access to computer science research, analysis, and information, the IEEE Computer Society offers a comprehensive array of unmatched products, services, and opportunities for individuals at all stages of their professional career. Known as the premier organization that empowers the people who drive technology, its unparalleled resources include membership, international conferences, peer-reviewed publications, a unique digital library, standards, and training programs. Visit www.computer.org for more information.