Jeff Dean

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Jeff Dean
Dean (2019)
Born (1968-07-23) July 23, 1968 (age 54)
Alma materUniversity of Minnesota, B.S. Computer Science and Engineering (1990)
University of Washington, Ph.D. Computer Science (1996)
Known forMapReduce, Bigtable, Spanner, TensorFlow
Scientific career
FieldsComputer Technology
InstitutionsGoogle; Digital Equipment Corporation
ThesisWhole-program optimization of object-oriented languages (1996)
Doctoral advisorCraig Chambers

Jeffrey Adgate "Jeff" Dean (born July 23, 1968) is an American computer scientist and software engineer. He is currently the lead of Google AI, Google's AI division.[1]


Dean received a B.S., summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota in Computer Science & Economics in 1990.[2] He received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Washington, working under Craig Chambers on compilers[3] and whole-program optimization techniques for object-oriented programming languages in 1996.[4] He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2009, which recognized his work on "the science and engineering of large-scale distributed computer systems."[5][6]


Before joining Google, Dean worked at DEC/Compaq's Western Research Laboratory,[7] where he worked on profiling tools, microprocessor architecture, and information retrieval.[8] Much of his work was completed in close collaboration with Sanjay Ghemawat.[9][3]

Prior to graduate school, he worked at the World Health Organization's Global Programme on AIDS, developing software for statistical modeling and forecasting of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.[8]

Dean joined Google in mid-1999, and is currently the head of its Artificial Intelligence division. While at Google, he designed and implemented large portions of the company's advertising, crawling, indexing and query serving systems, along with various pieces of the distributed computing infrastructure that underlies most of Google's products.[3] At various times, he has also worked on improving search quality, statistical machine translation, and various internal software development tools and has had significant involvement in the engineering hiring process.

The projects Dean has worked on include:

  • Spanner, a scalable, multi-version, globally distributed, and synchronously replicated database
  • Some of the production system design and statistical machine translation system for Google Translate
  • Bigtable, a large-scale semi-structured storage system[3]
  • MapReduce, a system for large-scale data processing applications[3]
  • LevelDB, an open-source on-disk key-value store
  • DistBelief, a proprietary machine-learning system for deep neural networks that was eventually refactored into TensorFlow
  • TensorFlow, an open-source machine-learning software library[3]

He was an early member of Google Brain,[3] a team that studies large-scale artificial neural networks, and he has headed Artificial Intelligence efforts since they were split from Google Search.[10]

Dean was the subject of controversy when ethics in AI researcher Timnit Gebru challenged Google's research review process, ultimately leading to her departure from the company. Dean responded by publishing a letter on Google's approach to the research process[11] that was the subject of further criticism and controversy.[12]


Dean and his wife, Heidi Hopper, started the Hopper-Dean Foundation and began making philanthropic grants in 2011. In 2016, the foundation gave $2 million each to UC Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Washington, Stanford University, and Carnegie Mellon University to support programs that promote diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).[13][14][15]

Personal life[edit]

Dean is married and has two daughters.[3]

Awards and honors[edit]


Dean was interviewed for the 2018 book Architects of Intelligence: The Truth About AI from the People Building it by the American futurist Martin Ford.[19]

Major publications[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Verge report on Dean as new Google AI Chief
  2. ^ "Jeff Dean Google".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Friendship That Made Google Huge". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  4. ^ "STANFORD TALKS; Jeff Dean: TensorFlow Overview and Future Directions". Stanford University. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  5. ^ "UW CSE News; Jeff Dean elected to National Academy of Engineering". University of Washington. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Jeffrey A Dean - Award Winner". Association for Computing Machinery. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  7. ^ Metz, Cade (8 August 2008). "If Xerox PARC Invented the PC, Google Invented the Internet | WIRED". WIRED. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Jeff Dean - Speakerpedia, Discover & Follow a World of Compelling Voices". Speakerpedia. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  9. ^ Metz, Cade (2012-08-08). "If Xerox PARC Invented the PC, Google Invented the Internet". WIRED. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
  10. ^ D'Onfro, Jillian (2018-04-02). "Google is splitting A.I. into its own business unit and shaking up its search leadership". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  11. ^ Dean, Jeff (2020-12-03). "About Google's approach to research publication". Google. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  12. ^ Ghaffray, Shirin (2020-12-04). "The controversy behind a star Google AI researcher's departure". Vox. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  13. ^ "$1M Hopper-Dean Foundation Gift for Diversity in CS". Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  14. ^ Williams, Tate (10 August 2016). "One of Google's Top Programmers Has Made STEM Diversity a Philanthropic Cause - Inside Philanthropy". Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  15. ^ "$1 million gift to support diversity in STEM education". Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  16. ^ ACM-Infosys Foundation Award
  17. ^ "The Mark Weiser Award". ACM SIGOPS. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
  18. ^ Newly Elected Members, American Academy of Arts and Music, April 2016, retrieved 2016-04-20
  19. ^ Ford, Marin (2018) Architects of Intelligence: The Truth About AI from the People Building it, Packt Publishing Ltd, ISDN 9781789131260

External links[edit]