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photo of John L. Hennessy, 2012 IEEE Medal of Honor recipientJohn L. Hennessy, President of Stanford University and Leader
in Computer Engineering,
Named 2012 IEEE Medal of Honor Recipient

8 December 2011 – Stanford University President John L. Hennessy, who pioneered the RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) processor architecture and demonstrated exceptional leadership in computer engineering and higher education, has been named recipient of the 2012 IEEE Medal of Honor, IEEE’s highest award. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional association.

An expert in computer architecture, in 1981 Hennessy assembled a team of researchers to focus on a computer architecture known as RISC, a technology that has revolutionized the computer industry by increasing performance while reducing costs. RISC designs served as the basis for a number of successful different platforms including the ARM (Advanced RISC Machine) architecture, found in most mobile devices. In addition to his role in the basic research, Hennessy helped transfer this technology to industry.  He cofounded MIPS Computer Systems, now MIPS Technologies, which designs microprocessors.

An IEEE Fellow, Hennessy has been a member of the faculty at Stanford University since 1977, and president since 2000. During his tenure, he also has held the positions of provost and dean of the School of Engineering, among others. Over the years, he has fostered interdisciplinary activities in the biosciences and bioengineering and implemented many new activities in these areas. In recent years, his research has focused on the architecture of high-performance computers.

Hennessy was a co-recipient of the 2000 IEEE John von Neumann Medal for outstanding achievements in computer-related science and technology, and has received numerous other awards for his work, including being named in 2005 the first holder of Stanford’s Bing Presidential Professorship.

Sponsored by the IEEE Foundation, the IEEE Medal of Honor will be presented along with 21 other IEEE medals and recognitions at the IEEE Honors Ceremony on Saturday, 30 June 2012 in Boston, Mass., USA.


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