Professor Kunle Olukotun, Pioneer of Multicore Processor Design, Receives ACM-IEEE CS Eckert-Mauchly Award

Published 06/07/2023
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Kunle Olukotun

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif,  7 June 2023 – The IEEE Computer Society (IEEE CS) announces that Kunle Olukotun, a 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.

Olukotun, the Cadence Design Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University, is a pioneer in multicore processor design and the leader of the Stanford Hydra chip multiprocessor (CMP) research project. The Hydra project explored the design of CMP architectures composed of simple processors that would make it much easier to extract many types of thread-level parallelism (TLP) and the use of thread-level speculation (TLS) to simplify the task of developing parallelizing compilers. The advantages of CMPs were analyzed 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 founded Afara Websystems to develop high-throughput, low-power multicore processors for server systems. The Afara multi-core, multi-thread processor, called Niagara, was acquired by Sun Microsystems and now powers Oracle’s SPARC-based servers. Today, almost all processors used in systems from mobile phones to datacenter servers use the multicore design concepts that were pioneered under the Hydra project.

Olukotun and Christos Kozyrakis lead the design of the Transactional Coherence and Consistency (TCC) approach to simplify parallel programming. They co-authored the paper “Transactional Memory Coherence and Consistency,” which was presented at the 2004 International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) and received the Most Influential Paper Award in 2019. Olukotun is one of only two researchers who have received the Most Influential Paper Award from both ASPLOS and ISCA.

Olukotun was an innovator in the use of Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs) for programming heterogeneous parallel computers (multicores, graphics processing units, distributed computers). The Delite compiler framework was conceived to simplify the process of DSL development by providing common components such as parallel patterns, optimizations, and code generators, that could be used to develop high performance DSLs for many domains. The machine learning Delite-based DSL, called OptiML, pioneered many of the ideas underlying today’s machine learning frameworks (TensorFlow and PyTorch).

He developed the Reconfigurable Dataflow Architecture (RDA) as a domain specific accelerator for executing parallel patterns generated from Delite DSLs. RDAs outperform conventional architectures by mapping applications spatially across a chip to extract massive amounts of vector, pipeline, and stream-level parallelism. Olukotun co-founded SambaNova Systems which develops systems that use RDA technology to accelerate machine learning and AI applications.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Science., Olukotun is an ACM Fellow and an IEEE Fellow for contributions to multiprocessors on a chip design and the commercialization of this technology. He also received the IEEE CS Harry H. Goode Memorial Award. Olukotun received his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from The University of Michigan.

Olukotun will be formally recognized with the Eckert-Mauchly Award during an awards luncheon on Tuesday, June 20th at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA 2023).

 About the Eckert-Mauchly Award

ACM and 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.

 About the IEEE Computer Society

The IEEE Computer Society 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 careers. Known as the premier organization that empowers the people who drive technology, the IEEE Computer Society offers international conferences, peer-reviewed publications, a unique digital library, and training programs.