John Hennessy to Receive Semiconductor Award

Dr. John L. Hennessy, chairman of Alphabet

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) announced Dr. John Hennessy, chairman of Alphabet Inc. and former president of Stanford University, and pioneer in electrical engineering, has been named the 2018 recipient of SIA’s highest honor, the Robert N. Noyce Award.

SIA presents the Noyce Award annually in recognition of a leader who has made outstanding contributions to the semiconductor industry in technology or public policy. Hennessy will accept the award at the SIA Annual Award Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018 at the Fairmont in San Jose.

“Throughout his outstanding and influential career spanning more than four decades, John Hennessy has helped move the semiconductor industry forward, leading efforts to advance semiconductor technology and train future generations of electrical engineers,” said John Neuffer, president and CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association. “John literally wrote the book on computer architecture design and has spearheaded semiconductor research that has helped make our industry what it is today. On behalf of the SIA board of directors, it is an honor to announce John’s selection as the 2018 Robert N. Noyce Award recipient in recognition of his exceptional accomplishments.”

Hennessy joined Stanford University’s faculty in 1977 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering and rose through the academic ranks to become Stanford’s 10th president, serving in that role from 2000 until his retirement in 2016. In February 2018, Dr. Hennessy was appointed chairman of Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google.

In 1981, Hennessy drew together researchers to focus on a computer architecture known as RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer), a technology that has revolutionized the computer industry by increasing performance while reducing costs. Dr. Hennessy helped transfer this technology to industry. In 1984, he cofounded MIPS Computer Systems, which designed microprocessors. In more recent years, his research focused on the architecture of high-performance computers.

Hennessy has lectured and published widely and is the co-author of two internationally used undergraduate and graduate textbooks on computer architecture design. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Villanova University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in computer science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

“It is a true privilege to be selected for this award, joining a distinguished list of pioneers and icons who have previously received it,” said Hennessy. “Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work with countless outstanding colleagues, mentors, and friends who have been instrumental in my work every step of the way. It is with them in mind that I gratefully accept this award, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside them to advance the forward march of innovation.”

The Noyce Award is named in honor of semiconductor industry pioneer Robert N. Noyce, co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel.