David Patterson (computer scientist)

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David Patterson
David A Patterson.jpg
Born (1947-11-16) November 16, 1947 (age 70)
Evergreen Park, Illinois
Nationality American
Alma mater UCLA
Known for RISC
Network of Workstations
Awards Eckert–Mauchly Award[1] (2008)
ACM Distinguished Service Award (2007)
Computer History Museum Fellow (2007)
National Academy of Engineering Member
National Academy of Sciences Member
AAAS Fellow
ACM Fellow (1994)
IEEE Fellow
Karl Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award (1991)
Scientific career
Institutions University of California, Berkeley
Thesis Verification of Microprograms[2] (1976)
Doctoral advisor David F. Martin
Gerald Estrin
Doctoral students Garth A. Gibson
David Ungar

David Andrew Patterson (born November 16, 1947) is an American computer pioneer and academic who has held the position of Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley since 1976. He announced retirement in 2016 after serving nearly forty years and became a distinguished engineer at Google.[3][4] He currently is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the RISC-V Foundation.[5]

Patterson is noted for his pioneering contributions to RISC processor design, having coined the term RISC, and by leading the Berkeley RISC project.[6] He is also noted for his research on RAID storage.

His books on computer architecture (co-authored with John L. Hennessy) are widely used in computer science education.


A native of Evergreen Park, Illinois, David Patterson attended UCLA, receiving his B.A. in 1969, M.S. in 1970 and Ph.D. (advised by David F. Martin and Gerald Estrin) in 1976.[7]


He is an important proponent of the concept of reduced instruction set computing and coined the term "RISC".[6] He led the Berkeley RISC project from 1980 along with Carlo H. Sequin, where the technique of register windows was introduced. He is also one of the innovators of the redundant arrays of independent disks (RAID) (in collaboration with Randy Katz and Garth Gibson), and Network of Workstations (NOW) (in collaboration with Eric Brewer and David Culler).

Past Positions[edit]

Past chair of the Computer Science Division at U.C. Berkeley and the Computing Research Association, he served on the Information Technology Advisory Committee for the U.S. President (PITAC) during 2003–05 and was elected president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for 2004–06.[8]

Selected works[edit]


He co-authored six books, including two with John L. Hennessy on computer architecture: Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach (5 editions—latest is ISBN 0-12-383872-X) and Computer Organization and Design: the Hardware/Software Interface (5 editions—latest is ISBN 978-0-12-407726-3). They have been widely used as textbooks for graduate and undergraduate courses since 1990. His most recent book is with Armando Fox on software engineering: Engineering Software as a Service: An Agile Approach Using Cloud Computing (1st Edition) (ISBN 0-9848812-4-7).



His work has been recognized by about 35 awards for research, teaching, and service, including Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)[9] and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as well as by election to the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, and the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame. In 2005 he and Hennessy shared Japan's Computer & Communication award and, in 2006, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences and received the Distinguished Service Award from the Computing Research Association. [8] In 2007 he was named a Fellow of the Computer History Museum "for fundamental contributions to engineering education, advances in computer architecture, and the integration of leading-edge research with education."[10] That same year he was also named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2008, won the ACM Distinguished Service Award, the ACM-IEEE Eckert-Mauchly Award, and was recognized by the School of Engineering at UCLA for Alumni Achievement in Academia. Since then he has won the ACM-SIGARCH Distinguished Service Award, ACM-SIGOPS Hall of Fame Award, and the 2012 Jean-Claude Laprie Award in Dependable Computing from IFIP Working Group 10.4 on Dependable Computing and Fault Tolerance. In 2016 he was given the Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science and Diversifying Computing[11]

In 2013 he set the American Powerlifting Record for the state of California for his weight class and age group in bench press, dead lift, squat, and all three combined lifts.

On February 12, 2015, IEEE installed a plaque at UC Berkeley to commemorate the contribution of RISC-I[12] in Soda Hall at UC Berkeley. The plaque reads:

  • IEEE Milestone in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • First RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) Microprocessor
  • UC Berkeley students designed and built the first VLSI reduced instruction-set computer in 1981. The simplified instructions of RISC-I reduced the hardware for instruction decode and control, which enabled a flat 32-bit address space, a large set of registers, and pipelined execution. A good match to C programs and the Unix operating system, RISC-I influenced instruction sets widely used today, including those for game consoles, smartphones and tablets.
  • February 2015


From 2003 to 2012 he rode in the annual Waves to Wine MS charity event as part of Bike MS; a 2-day cycling adventure. He was the top fundraiser in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.[13] In total, he has raised more than $200,000 for Multiple Sclerosis.

Recent Work[edit]

David Patterson's recent projects have been the RAD Lab: Reliable Adaptive Distributed systems, the Par Lab: Parallel Computing Laboratory, the AMP Lab: Algorithms, Machines, and People Laboratory, and the ASPIRE Lab: Algorithms and Specializers for Provably optimal Implementations with Resilience and Efficiency Laboratory.

Ph.D. Students[edit]

He has advised a number of notable Ph.D. candidates, including[14]:


  1. ^ "Charles P. "Chuck" Thacker is the recipient of the 2017 Eckert-Mauchly Award". awards.acm.org. 
  2. ^ David Patterson at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ "People of ACM - David Patterson". www.acm.org. 
  4. ^ https://research.google.com/pubs/105290.html
  5. ^ "Board of Directors - RISC-V Foundation". 
  6. ^ a b Milestones in computer science and information technology by Edwin D. Reilly 2003 ISBN 1-57356-521-0 page 50
  7. ^ Patterson, D. A., "Verification of Microprograms," Technical Report No. UCLA-ENG-7707, UCLA Computer Science Department, January 1977.
  8. ^ a b "CRA Service Awards 2006". archive.cra.org. 
  9. ^ http://awards.acm.org/fellow/all.cfm
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-06. Retrieved 2013-02-16. 
  11. ^ "Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award - Tapia Conference". tapiaconference.org. 
  12. ^ "IEEE SCV Silicon Valley Technology History Committee". sites.ieee.org. 
  13. ^ "Berkeley's Anti-MS Crew". anti-ms-crew.berkeley.edu. 
  14. ^ "David Patterson's PhD Students". 

External links[edit]