LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 5 October, 2011 – Charles Seitz, an architect and designer of innovative computing and communication systems, has been awarded the IEEE Computer Society's 2011 Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award.
Known for creating new disciplines of digital design, Seitz was recognized "for innovations in high-performance message-passing architectures and networks." He is scheduled to accept the award at the keynote session at SC11 in Seattle, Washington on Tuesday morning, 15 November.
Seitz's fascination with digital design dates back to the 1960s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned SB, SM, and PhD degrees in electrical engineering. While a graduate student, he taught courses in switching and automata theory, developed MIT's digital-system project-laboratory course, and received the MIT Goodwin Medal "for conspicuously effective teaching."
While he was an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Utah, Seitz worked also at the Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp., where he helped design the highest performance graphics engines of the time. After conducting research for Burroughs on digital-video techniques of aperture filtering, Seitz joined the computer science faculty at Caltech, where he focused on very-large-scale integration (VLSI) design and concurrent computing.
Seitz and his students developed the first multicomputer, the Cosmic Cube; devised the key programming and packet-switching techniques for the second-generation multicomputers; and transferred these technologies to industry. The Intel Paragon, ASCI Red, and Cray T3D/E employ message-passing techniques licensed from his Caltech patents.
In 1994, Seitz led the team that founded Myricom Inc., where he served as president and CEO until last year. The company's Myrinet high-performance interconnects and switches are a direct descendent of multicomputer message-passing networks.
The Seymour Cray Award is one of the IEEE Computer Society's highest awards, and is presented in recognition of innovative contributions to high-performance computing systems that best exemplify Cray's creative spirit. The award consists of a crystal memento, certificate, and a $10,000 honorarium.
The 2010 Seymour Cray award went to Alan Gara, chief system architect for the three generations of Blue Gene supercomputers. An IBM Fellow at the T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, NY, since 2006, Gara was honored for his "innovations in low power, densely packaged supercomputing systems."
Kenichi Miura, a professor at the National Institute of Informatics in Japan, received the 2009 Cray award. Other previous recipients include Ken Batcher, John Cocke, Glen Culler, William J. Dally, Monty Denneau, John L. Hennessy, Steven L. Scott, Burton J. Smith, Steven Wallach, and Tadashi Watanabe.