David Cheriton

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David Cheriton
Born
David Ross Cheriton

(1951-03-29) March 29, 1951 (age 69)
CitizenshipCanadian
EducationB.S., University of British Columbia (1973)
M.S., University of Waterloo (1974)
Ph.D., University of Waterloo (1978)
Spouse(s)Iris Fraser (divorced)
Children4
AwardsSIGCOMM Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science
Mathematics
Business
Philanthropy
InstitutionsUniversity of British Columbia
Stanford University
Granite Systems
Kealia
Arista Networks

David Ross Cheriton (born March 29, 1951) is a Canadian computer scientist, mathematician, billionaire businessman, philanthropist, and venture capitalist. He is a computer science professor at Stanford University,[1] where he founded and leads the Distributed Systems Group.[2]

He is a distributed computing and computer networking expert, with insight into identifying big market opportunities and building the architectures needed to address such opportunities. He has founded and invested in technology companies, including Google, where he was among the first investors;[3] VMware, where he was an early angel investor;[4] and Arista, where he was cofounder and chief scientist. He has funded at least 20 companies.[5]

Cheriton was ranked by Forbes with an estimated net worth of US$5.9 billion, as of January 2019.[6] He has made contributions to education, with a $25 million donation to support graduate studies and research in the School of Computer Science (subsequently renamed David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science) at the University of Waterloo,[7] a $7.5 million donation to the University of British Columbia,[8] and a $12 million endowment in 2016 to Stanford University to support Computer Science faculty, graduate fellowships, and undergraduate scholarships.[9]

Education[edit]

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Cheriton attended public schools in the Highlands neighborhood of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.[10]

He briefly attended the University of Alberta where he had applied for both mathematics and music. He was rejected by the music program, and then went on to study mathematics and received his Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from the University of British Columbia in 1973.[11]

Cheriton received his Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in computer science from the University of Waterloo in 1974 and 1978, respectively. He spent three years as an assistant professor at his Alma mater, the University of British Columbia, before moving to Stanford.[12][13]

Research[edit]

Cheriton founded and led the Distributed Systems Group at Stanford University, which developed the operating system V. He has published profusely in the areas of Distributed Systems and Networking[1] and won the prestigious SIGCOMM award in 2003, in recognition for his lifetime contribution to the field of communication networks.[14] Cheriton was the mentor and advisor of students such as: Sergey Brin and Larry Page (founders of Google), Kenneth Duda[2] (founder of Arista Networks), Hugh Holbrook[2] (VP Software Engineering at Arista Networks), Sandeep Singhal[2] (was GM at Microsoft, now at Google), and Kieran Harty[15] (CTO and founder of Tintri).

As of 2016, Cheriton is working with Stanford students on transactional memory, making memory systems that are resilient to failures.

In-memory processing leads to dramatically faster computers – in some cases speeding up applications by a factor of 100,000. It changes the complete nature of how a business can run. We’re trying to lower the cost and to fit these systems in existing memory structures and reduce the number of components to make them more reliable and more secure.

— David R. Cheriton; 2016 interview[9]

Industry[edit]

Cheriton cofounded Granite Systems with Andy Bechtolsheim. The company developed gigabit Ethernet products. It was acquired by Cisco Systems in 1996.[16]

In August 1998, Stanford students Sergey Brin and Larry Page met Bechtolsheim on Cheriton's front porch. At the meeting, Bechtolsheim wrote the first cheque to fund their company, Google, and Cheriton joined him with a $200,000 investment.[3]

Cheriton was also an early angel investor in compute virtualization leader VMware,[17] which was later acquired for $625M by EMC in 2004. VMware had a successful public offering in 2007.

In 2001 Cheriton and Bechtolsheim founded another start-up company, Palo Alto based Kealia. Kealia designed a high-capacity streaming video server;[18] Galaxy, a range of servers based on AMD's Opteron microprocessor; and Thumper, an enterprise-grade network attached storage system.[16] Kealia was bought by Sun Microsystems in 2004, with Thumper becoming the Sun Fire X4500.[16][19]

In 2004, Cheriton cofounded (again with Bechtolsheim) and was chief scientist of Arista Networks, where he worked on the foundations of the Extensible Operating System (EOS).[20] Arista had a successful public offering in 2014.[21]

Cheriton is an investor in and advisory board member for frontline data warehouse company Aster Data Systems,[22] which was acquired by Teradata in 2011 for $263M.[23]

Cheriton is also one of the earliest investors in Tintri, a storage virtualization company founded by his student Kieran Harty.[15] Cheriton was also an early investor in in-video advertising company Zunavision,[24] and he founded OptumSoft.[25]

In 2014, Cheriton cofounded and invested in Apstra, Inc.[26] In 2015, Cheriton cofounded and invested in BrainofT, Inc. (Caspar).[27]

Lifestyle[edit]

Although the Google investment alone would be worth over US$1 billion, Cheriton has a reputation for a frugal lifestyle, avoiding costly cars or large houses. He was once included in a list of "cheapskate billionaires".[28]

On November 18, 2005, the University of Waterloo announced that Cheriton had donated $25 million to support graduate studies and research in its School of Computer Science. In recognition of his contribution, the school was renamed the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science.[7] In 2009, Cheriton donated $2 million to the University of British Columbia, which will go to fund the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI). Cheriton more recently donated $7.5M to fund a new chair in computing, and a new course on computational thinking.[8]

Cheriton has also funded two graduate student fellowships and one undergrad fellowship at Stanford,[29] and donated several millions of dollars to Stanford to fund research.[9]

He campaigned against asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) that was favored by telephone carriers, preferring Ethernet, which he saw as a simpler, proven option. Ethernet gradually trumped alternatives.[5]

Personal life[edit]

In 1980, Cheriton married Iris Fraser. They had four children, and divorced in 1994.[30][31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "David Cheriton profile". stanford.edu. Archived from the original on 2016-02-05. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  2. ^ a b c d "Distributed Systems Group". gregorio.stanford.edu. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  3. ^ a b Jolis, Jacob. "Frugal after Google". Stanford Daily. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  4. ^ "The Midas List: #4 David Cheriton - Forbes.com". forbes.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  5. ^ a b Clark, Don (2016-03-30). "The Billionaire Professor Behind New Networking Startup Apstra". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Archived from the original on 2016-05-07. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
  6. ^ "David Cheriton". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2016-02-20. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  7. ^ a b Post, National. "University of Waterloo gets $25M 'Google dividend'". Canada.com. Archived from the original on 2016-02-23. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  8. ^ a b "Founding Google investor Cheriton donates $7.5 million to UBC computer science". UBC News. Archived from the original on 2016-02-05. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  9. ^ a b c Myers, Andrew (2016-05-02). "David Cheriton: "The goal is to get students to think like experts"". engineering.stanford.edu. Archived from the original on 2016-06-11. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  10. ^ "Just an 'ordinary' hometow billionaire: Edmonton's wealthiest son is hardly a household name, and the Google billionaire couldn't care less". The Edmonton Journal. April 3, 2006. Archived from the original on April 29, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  11. ^ Naslund, Eric (15 January 2010). "Interview with alumnus David Cheriton" (PDF). math.ubc.ca.
  12. ^ "David Cheriton". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  13. ^ Mac, Ryan. "Professor Billionaire: The Stanford Academic Who Wrote Google Its First Check". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  14. ^ "SIGCOMM Award Recipients". ACM SIGCOMM. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  15. ^ a b "Home is Where the Talent (and VCs) Are: Silicon Valley Still Unparalleled as Tech Hotbed". insights.wired.com. Archived from the original on 2016-02-05. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  16. ^ a b c CNET News.com. "Cisco's Brain Drain Continues (12DEC2003)". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
  17. ^ "Silicon Valley's Humble Billionaire". BloombergView. Archived from the original on 2016-02-05. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  18. ^ "Sun's X64-Based Streaming Server Runs on Linux". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
  19. ^ "Bechtolsheim: The server is not the network". The Register. 14 September 2009. Archived from the original on 10 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Professor Billionaire: The Stanford Academic Who Wrote Google Its First Check". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2016-02-07. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  21. ^ "Soaring after IPO, Arista Networks becomes one of Silicon Valley's most valuable networking companies". www.mercurynews.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  22. ^ "Advisory Board". Archived from the original on October 4, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  23. ^ Schonfeld, Erick. "Big Pay Day For Big Data. Teradata Buys Aster Data For $263 Million". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 2016-02-03. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  24. ^ Robin Wauters (February 18, 2009). "ZunaVision Is Trying To Monetize Online Video By Making It Unwatchable". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on September 17, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  25. ^ "About". OptumSoft website. 2008. Archived from the original on March 9, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  26. ^ "www.apstra.com". www.apstra.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
  27. ^ "caspar.ai". caspar.ai. Archived from the original on 2017-10-25. Retrieved 2017-10-05.
  28. ^ Lubin, Gus; Jedrzejczak, Antonina (April 5, 2010). "10 Cheapskate Billionaires Who Live Like Paupers". Business Insider. Archived from the original on June 24, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  29. ^ "Named SGF Fellowships". Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education. Stanford University. Archived from the original on 2016-03-11. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  30. ^ "Possessions make Silicon Valley divorces messy". The Berkeley Daily Planet. September 11, 2000. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02.
  31. ^ Harper, Will (October 7, 1999). "For Better Or for Worth - How splitting couples in Silicon Valley are carving out new territory in divorce court". Metro. San Jose: Metro Newspapers. Archived from the original on 2015-03-07.

External links[edit]