David Cheriton

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David Cheriton
Born David Ross Cheriton
(1951-03-29) March 29, 1951 (age 64)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Education B.A. University of British Columbia
M.S. University of Waterloo
PhD University of Waterloo
Occupation Computer Scientist / Mathematician
Net worth Increase US$3.3 billion (September 2014)[1]
Spouse(s) Iris Fraser (divorced)
Children 4

David Ross Cheriton (born March 29, 1951) is a Canadian computer scientist, mathematician, businessman, and venture capitalist. He is a computer science professor at Stanford University who has investments in technology companies. With an estimated net worth of US$3.3 billion (as of September 2014), Cheriton was ranked by Forbes as the 13th wealthiest Canadian and 508th in the world.[1]


Born in Vancouver, Cheriton attended public schools in the Highlands neighborhood of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.[2]

He briefly attended the University of Alberta where he had applied for both mathematics and music. Having been rejected by the music program, Cheriton went on to study mathematics and received his bachelor's degree from the University of British Columbia in 1973.[3] Cheriton received his Masters and PhD 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 in 1981.


Cheriton founded and led the Distributed Systems Group at Stanford University, which developed the V operating system.


Cheriton co-founded Granite Systems with Andy Bechtolsheim, a company developing gigabit Ethernet products; Granite was acquired by Cisco Systems in 1996.[4]

In August 1998, Stanford students Sergey Brin and Larry Page met with Bechtolsheim on Cheriton's front porch. Bechtolsheim wrote the first cheque to fund their company, Google, at the meeting, and Cheriton matched his $100,000 investment.[5]

In 2001 Cheriton and Bechtolsheim founded another start up company, Palo Alto based Kealia. Kealia designed a high-capacity streaming video server;[6] Galaxy, a range of servers based on AMD's Opteron microprocessor; and Thumper, an enterprise grade network attached storage system.[4] Kealia was bought by Sun Microsystems in 2004, with Thumper becoming the Sun Fire X4500.[4][7]

Later, David Cheriton co-founded (again with Bechtolsheim) and was chief scientist of Arastra (now Arista Networks), a maker of 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches.[8][9]

Cheriton is an investor in and advisory board member for frontline data warehouse company Aster Data Systems,[10] an early investor in in-video advertising company Zunavision,[11] and he founded OptumSoft.[12]


Although the Google investment alone would be worth over US$1 billion, Cheriton has a reputation for a frugal lifestyle, avoiding expensive cars or large houses. He was once included in a list of "cheapskate billionaires".[13] 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."

On January 18, 2010, Cheriton donated $2 million to the University of British Columbia, which will go to fund the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI).

Personal life[edit]

In 1980, Cheriton married Iris Fraser; they divorced in 1994, embroiling the Silicon Valley community and their family in a dispute over the allocation of stock options in divorce for spousal and child support. They have four children.[14] [15]


  1. ^ a b "David Cheriton". Forbes. Retrieved March 2012. 
  2. ^ "Just an 'ordinary' hometown billionaire: Edmonton's wealthiest son is hardly a household name, and the Google billionaire couldn't care less". The Edmonton Journal. April 3, 2006. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ http://www.math.ubc.ca/Dept/Newsletters/David_Cheriton_interview_2010.pdf
  4. ^ a b c CNET News.com. "Cisco's Brain Drain Continues (12DEC2003)". Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  5. ^ Jacob Jolis (April 16, 2010). "Frugal after Google". Stanford Daily. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Sun's X64-Based Streaming Server Runs on Linux". Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  7. ^ "Bechtolsheim: The server is not the network". The Register. 14 September 2009. 
  8. ^ Quentin Hardy (May 2, 2011). "Names You Need To Know: Arista Networks". Forbes.Com. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Management Team". Arista Networks web site. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Advisory Board". Archived from the original on Oct 4, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  11. ^ Robin Wauters (February 18, 2009). "ZunaVision Is Trying To Monetize Online Video By Making It Unwatchable". TechCrunch. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "About". OptumSoft web site. 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  13. ^ Gus Lubin and Antonina Jedrzejczak (April 5, 2010). "10 Cheapskate Billionaires Who Live Like Paupers". Business Insider. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  14. ^ San Jose Metroactive: "For Better Or for Worth - How splitting couples in Silicon Valley are carving out new territory in divorce court" By Will Harper October 7, 1999
  15. ^ Berkeley Daily Planet: "Possessions make Silicon Valley divorces messy" September 11, 2000

External links[edit]