Burton Smith

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Burton J. Smith
Burton J Smith.JPG
Smith at Supercomputing 2007
Born c. 1945 (age 69–70)
Occupation Technical Fellow at Microsoft

Burton J. Smith is a computer architect. He is a Technical Fellow at Microsoft.


Smith earned a B.S.E.E. degree from the University of New Mexico in 1967. He then attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning an Sc.D. in 1972.[1][2]


From 1970 to 1979, he taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Colorado. Smith then spent six years at Denelcor Inc. in Colorado, serving as vice president of research and development. He was the primary architect of the Denelcor Heterogeneous Element Processor (HEP). From 1985 to 1988, Smith was a fellow of the Institute for Defense Analyses Supercomputing Research Center.[1]

Smith co-founded Tera Computer Company and from 1988 until 2005 he served as its chief scientist and a member of the board of directors. He was also the company's chairman from 1988 until 1999.[1][3] In 2000, Tera acquired the Cray Research business unit from Silicon Graphics, and renamed itself Cray Inc..

In December, 2005, Smith was hired by Microsoft as a Technical Fellow, working with various groups within the company to define and expand efforts in the areas of parallel and high-performance computing.[1]


Smith received the 1991 Eckert-Mauchly Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the Association for Computing Machinery. In 2003, he received the Seymour Cray Computer Science and Engineering Award from the IEEE Computer Society and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He was elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010.[1]


Dennis Shasha, Out of their Minds, Springer, New York, 1998. ISBN 978-0387982694. Interview with Burton Smith.

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