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John Mashey

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John Mashey
John R. Mashey

1946 (age 77–78)
EducationPennsylvania State University (PhD)
  • Computer scientist
  • director
  • entrepreneur
SpouseAngela Hey

John R. Mashey (born 1946) is an American computer scientist, director and entrepreneur.


Mashey holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Pennsylvania State University,[1] where he developed the ASSIST assembler language teaching software.[2] He worked on the PWB/UNIX operating system at Bell Labs from 1973 to 1983, authoring the PWB shell, also known as the "Mashey Shell".[3] He then moved to Silicon Valley to join Convergent Technologies, ending as director of software.[4] He joined MIPS Computer Systems in early 1985, managing operating systems development, and helping design the MIPS RISC architecture, as well as specific CPUs, systems and software.[4] He continued similar work at Silicon Graphics (1992–2000), contributing to the design of the NUMAflex modular computer architecture using NUMAlink, ending as VP and chief scientist.[4][5]

Mashey was one of the founders of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) benchmarking group, was an ACM National Lecturer for four years, has been guest editor for IEEE Micro, and one of the long-time organizers of the Hot Chips conferences.[4] He chaired technical conferences on operating systems and CPU chips, and gave public talks on software engineering, RISC design, performance benchmarking and supercomputing. He has been credited for being the first to spread the term and concept of big data in the 1990s.[6][7][8] He became a consultant for venture capitalists and high-tech companies and a trustee of the Computer History Museum in 2001.[9][4] In 1997 he received Pennsylvania State University's first Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award for Computer Science and Engineering. In 2012, he received the USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award ("Flame Award") "for his contributions to the UNIX community since its early days".[10][11]

He has written articles for the Skeptical Inquirer[12] regarding climate change denial. In 2010 he published a 250-page critical report on the Wegman Report.[13] Mashey's report concluded that the Wegman Report contained plagiarized text. This story was featured in USA Today,[14] and he was interviewed in Science magazine, which stated that he was "spending his retirement years compiling voluminous critiques of what he calls the 'real conspiracy' to produce 'climate antiscience'."[15] His research has investigated the secretive funding of climate contrarian thinktanks.[16] Mashey blogs at DeSmogBlog, which focuses on global warming.[17]

Mashey became a scientific and technical consultant for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry in 2015.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Mashey is married to Angela Hey, a Cambridge University and Waterloo University graduate with a Ph.D. from Imperial College, London.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Mashey, John R. (1974). Semantic error detection in programming languages (PhD). Dissertation Abstracts International B. Vol. 35. Pennsylvania State University. p. 2700. ISBN 9798641079790.
  2. ^ Mashey, J.R. (February 1973). "ASSIST: Three year's experience with a student-oriented assembler". ACM SIGCSE Bulletin - Proceedings of the 3rd SIGCSE Symposium on Computer Science Education. 5 (1): 157–165. doi:10.1145/800010.808101. S2CID 45453765.
  3. ^ Dolotta, T.A.; Haight, R.C.; Mashey, J.R. (July–August 1978). "The Programmer's Workbench" (PDF). Bell System Technical Journal. 57 (6 Part 2): 2177–2200. doi:10.1002/j.1538-7305.1978.tb02148.x. S2CID 21869088.
  4. ^ a b c d e "John Mashey". Trustee bio. Computer History Museum. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  5. ^ John Mashey (August 30, 2000). "NUMAflex Modular Design Approach: A Revolution in Evolution". Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  6. ^ Fan, Wei; Bifet, Albert (December 2012). "Mining big data: current status, and forecast to the future". ACM SIGKDD Explorations Newsletter. 14 (2): 1–5. doi:10.1145/2481244.2481246. S2CID 141328.
  7. ^ Lohr, Steve (February 1, 2013). "The Origins of 'Big Data': An Etymological Detective Story". New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  8. ^ John R. Mashey (April 25, 1998). "Big Data ... and the Next Wave of InfraStress" (PDF). Slides from invited talk. Usenix. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  9. ^ "Board of Trustees". Core. 2 (3). Computer Museum History Center: 1. October 2001.
  10. ^ "Flame Award". USENIX. 2011-12-06. Archived from the original on 14 September 2014. Retrieved 2020-04-12. 2012: John Mashey receives the USENIX Flame award for his contributions to the UNIX community since its early days. He has made contributions to rigorous, disciplined systems evaluation, particularly the SPEC benchmark suite. Mashey worked on the Programmers Work Bench (PWB) and the UNIX operating system, including the creation of the PWB shell (or Mashey Shell). John has given over 500 public talks on software engineering, RISC design, performance benchmarking and supercomputing and is currently a trustee of the Computer History Museum.
  11. ^ "Flame Award". USENIX. 6 December 2011.
  12. ^ Mashey, John R. (2011). "Strange Problems in the Wegman Report". Skeptical Inquirer.
  13. ^ Mashey, John R. (2010). "Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report: A Façade for the Climate Anti-Science PR Campaign" (PDF). Deep Climate (blog). 1.02.
  14. ^ Dan Vergano (2010-11-23). "Experts claim 2006 climate report plagiarized". USA Today.
  15. ^ Kintisch E (10 June 2011). "Newsmaker Interview: John Mashey: Computer Scientist Goes on Offensive to Defend Climate Scientists". Science. 332 (6035): 1250–1. doi:10.1126/science.332.6035.1250. PMID 21659577. (article paywalled)
  16. ^ Suzanne Goldenberg (14 February 2013). "Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  17. ^ Mashey, John. "John Mashey's blog". DeSmogBlog. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  18. ^ "Ten Distinguished Scientists and Scholars Named Fellows of Committee for Skeptical Inquiry - CSI". www.csicop.org. Archived from the original on 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2015-10-15.