David J. Brown

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David J. Brown is an American computer scientist. He was one of a small group that helped to develop the system at Stanford that later resulted in Sun Microsystems, and later was a founder of Silicon Graphics in 1982.


Brown received his primary and secondary school education in New York City, and then studied at the University of Pennsylvania, Moore School of Electrical Engineering where he received a B.S.E. in 1979 and an M.S.E under the tutelage of Ruzena Bajcsy in 1980.[citation needed]

In 1984, Brown was introduced to David Wheeler, who invited him to join the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory as a doctoral candidate. In October 1986, he matriculated at St John's College, University of Cambridge, England to pursue a Ph.D. His dissertation introduced the concept of Unified Memory Architecture.[1] This idea has subsequently been widely applied — most notably by Intel in their processors and platform architecture of the late 1990s and onward.[1]


Brown became a member of the research staff in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University in 1981, where he helped develop the research edition of the SUN workstation with Andreas Bechtolsheim, prior to the establishment of Sun Microsystems.[2]

In 1982, Brown was one of the group of the seven technical staff from Stanford (along with Kurt Akeley, Tom Davis, Rocky Rhodes, Mark Hannah, Mark Grossman, Charles "Herb" Kuta) who joined Jim Clark to form Silicon Graphics.[3][4]

Brown and Stephen R. Bourne formed the Workstation Systems Engineering group at Digital Equipment Corporation. Together they built the group responsible for the introduction of the DECstation line of computer systems.[5]

In 1992, Brown joined Sun Microsystems. He helped establish the process used for the company's system software architecture, and then went on to define the application binary interface[2] for Solaris, Sun's principal system software product.

Later, Brown worked on Solaris's adoption of Open Source software and practices, and then its technologies for energy-efficient computing.[5]

In 1998, Brown was elected to the Council of the Association for Computing Machinery,[6] and later became a founding editor of the ACM Queue magazine.[7]


  1. ^ a b David J. Brown, Abstraction of Image and Pixel. The Thistle Display System, Technical Report No. 229, at University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, UK, August 1991.
  2. ^ a b Charlene O'Hanlon, A Conversation with David Brown: The Nondisruptive Theory of Evolution, ACM Queue, October 10, 2006.
  3. ^ Bowen, Jonathan (2001). "Silicon Graphics, Inc.". In Raúl Rojas. Encyclopedia of Computers and Computer History. New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, The Moschovitis Group. pp. 709–710. ISBN 9781579582357. 
  4. ^ "The First Quarter-Century". Archived from the original on November 9, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-09. , Silicon Graphics, 2007.
  5. ^ a b David J. Brown, Toward Energy-efficient Computing, 800th Anniversary talk at University of Cambridge, UK, 17 June 2009.
  6. ^ "Election Results". Association for Computing Machinery. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  7. ^ David J. Brown, Articles in ACM Queue.