The ACM and IEEE have announced that the recipient of this year's Eckert-Mauchly Award is William J. Dally for his innovative contributions to the architecture of interconnection networks and parallel computers. The Eckert Mauchly Award is among the computer architecture community's most prestigious award. Dally developed the system and network architecture, signaling, routing, and synchronization technology that is found in most large parallel computers today. He also introduced the Imagine processor, which employs stream processing architecture, providing high- performance computing with power, speed, and efficiency. Currently Dally is Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President of Research at NVIDIA.
Early in his career, Dally recognized the limitations of serial or sequential processing to cope with the increasing need for processing power in order to solve complex computational problems. He perceived the ability of parallel processing, in which many processing cores, each optimized for efficiency, can work together to solve a problem. Parallel processing also enables continued scaling of computing performance in the current energy-constrained environment.
Dally joined NVIDIA in 2009 as Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President of Research. From 2005-2009, he served as chair of Stanford University’s Computer Science Department, where he has been a computer science professor since 1997. Prior to his Stanford affiliation, Dally led a group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that built the J-Machine and the M-Machine, parallel machines that pioneered the separation of mechanism from programming models. Previously at California Institute of Technology, he designed the MOSSIM Simulation Engine to provide the computing power required to verify complex Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) chips. He also designed the Torus Routing chip, a self-timed chip that reduces the latency of communications that traverse more than one channel.
Dally has published more than 200 papers and holds over 75 issued patents. He is the author of two textbooks -- "Digital Systems Engineering" and "Principles and Practices of Interconnection Networks". Dally received a B.S. degree from the Virginia Institute of Technology and an M.S. from Stanford, both in electrical engineering. His Ph.D. in computer science is from Caltech.
The Eckert-Mauchly 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 first large scale electronic computing machine, which was completed in 1947.