Nick McKeown was born April 7, 1963 in Bedford, England. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Leeds in 1986. From 1986 through 1989 he worked for Hewlett-Packard Labs, in their network and communications research group in Bristol, England. He moved to the United States in 1989 and earned both his master's degree in 1992 and PhD in 1995 from the University of California at Berkeley. During Spring 1995, he worked briefly for Cisco Systems where he helped architect their GSR 12000 router. His PhD thesis was on "Scheduling Cells in an Input-Queued Cell Switch", with advisor Professor Jean Walrand. He joined the faculty of Stanford University in 1995 as assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science. In 1997 McKeown co-founded Abrizio Inc. with Anders Swahn, where he was CTO. Abrizio was acquired by PMC-Sierra in 1999 for stock shares worth $400 million. He was promoted to associate professor in 2002. He was co-founder in 2003 (with Sundar Iyer) and CEO of Nemo Systems, which Cisco Systems bought for $12.5 million cash in 2005. He became faculty director of the Clean Slate Program in 2006, and was promoted to full professor at Stanford in 2010.
McKeown is active in the software-defined networking (SDN) movement, which he helped start with Scott Shenker and Martin Casado. SDN and OpenFlow arose from the PhD work of Casado at Stanford University, where he was a student of McKeown. OpenFlow is a novel programmatic interface for controlling network switches, routers, Wi-Fi access points, cellular base stations and WDM/TDM equipment. OpenFlow challenged the vertically integrated approach to switch and router design of the past twenty years. McKeown works closely with Guru Parulkar, Executive Director of the Stanford Clean Slate Program.
In 2007, Casado, McKeown and Shenker co-founded Nicira Networks, a Palo Alto, California based company working on network virtualization, acquired by VMWare for $1.26 billion in July 2012. In 2011 McKeown and Shenker co-founded the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) to transfer control of OpenFlow to a newly created not-for-profit organization.
Awards and distinctions
In 2000, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Communications Society Stephen O. Rice Prize for the best paper in communications theory went to a paper on "Achieving 100% Throughput in an Input-Queued Switch", which McKeown co-authored with Adisak Mekkittikul, Venkat Anantharam and Jean Walrand. The paper discussed dealing with the problem of head-of-line blocking using Virtual Output Queues.
McKeown was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering in 2011. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK), a Fellow of the IEEE and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). In 2005 he was awarded the Lovelace Medal from the British Computer Society where he gave a lecture on "Internet Routers (Past Present and Future)". The citation described him as "the world's leading expert on router design." In 2009 he received the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award. At Stanford he has been the STMicroelectronics Faculty Scholar, the Robert Noyce Faculty Fellow, a Fellow of the Powell Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and recipient of a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.
McKeown entertained, and distinguished himself, at the TED 2006 Conference in Monterey, where he took the stage for 3 minutes and juggled balls while reciting Pi to 200 places.
Opposition to the death penalty
McKeown is involved in the movement to abolish the death penalty. In 2001 he co-funded the Death Penalty Clinic at the UC Berkeley School of Law (known as Boalt Hall) in Berkeley, California. In 2009 he received the Abolition Award from Death Penalty Focus.
- "Short biography". Faculty website. Stanford University. Retrieved November 19, 2011.
- Nicholas William McKeown (1995). "Scheduling Algorithms for Input-Queued Cell Switches". Retrieved November 20, 2011.
- "Nick McKeown resumé". Faculty website. Stanford University. Retrieved November 19, 2011.
- "PMC-Sierra to pay $400M for Abrizio". New York Times. August 25, 1999. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
- Dawn Kawamoto (September 30, 2005). "Cisco to reel in Nemo". ZDNet. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
- Video Demos of OpenFlow
- Quentin Hardy (October 17, 2011). "What is Nicira up to?". Bits Blog (New York Times). Retrieved November 19, 2011.
- "Management Team". Official website. Nicira Networks, Inc. Retrieved November 19, 2011.
- Dina Bass and Sarah Frier (July 23, 2012). "VMware Buys Nicira for $1.26 Billion Adding Network Software". Bloomberg News. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
- ONF Website
- John Markoff (March 22, 2011). "Open Networking Foundation Pursues New Standards". New York Times. Retrieved November 19, 2011.
- "The Communications Society Stephen O. Rice Prize in the Field of Communications Theory". IEEE Communications Society. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
- Nick McKeown; Adisak Mekkittikul; Venkat Anantharam; Jean Walrand (August 1999). "Achieving 100% Throughput in an Input-Queued Switch". IEEE Transactions on Communications 47 (8): 1260–1267. doi:10.1109/26.780463.
- "Nicholas William McKeown". NAE citation. National Academy of Engineering.
- "The route to success". BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT. 2005. Retrieved November 19, 2011.
- Bruno Giussani. "TED2006: Small miracles". LunchOverIP.
- Janet Gilmore (January 4, 2001). "UC Berkeley School of Law announces establishment of new law clinic, program to assist California inmates on death row". News release (University of California, Berkeley). Retrieved November 19, 2011.
- "Annual Awards Dinner". Death Penalty Focus. Archived from the original on November 23, 2009. Retrieved November 19, 2011.