Kunle Olukotun

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Oyekunle Ayinde (Kunle) Olukotun is a pioneer of multi-core processors, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Stanford University and director of the Pervasive Parallelism Laboratory at Stanford.[1]

Olukotun did his undergraduate studies at Calvin College,[2] and his doctoral studies in computer engineering at the University of Michigan, under the supervision of Trevor N. Mudge.[3]

In the mid-1990s, Olukotun and his co-authors argued that multi-core computer processors were likely to make better use of hardware than existing superscalar designs.[4] In 2000, while a professor at Stanford, Olukotun founded Afara Websystems, a company that designed and manufactured multi-core SPARC-based computer processors for data centers. Afara was purchased by Sun Microsystems in 2002;[5] at Sun, Olukotun was one of the architects of the 2005 UltraSPARC T1 processor.[6] In 2008, Olukotun returned to Stanford, and founded the Pervasive Parallelism Laboratory at Stanford after gathering US$6M in funding from several computer-industry corporations.[7] His recent work focuses on domain-specific programming languages that can allow algorithms to be easily adapted to multiple different types of parallel hardware including multi-core systems, graphics processing units, and field-programmable gate arrays.[8]

Olukotun is also a member of the board of advisors of UDC, a Nigerian venture capital firm.[2] He was elected as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery in 2006 for his "contributions to multiprocessors on a chip and multi threaded processor design".[9] He became a Fellow of the IEEE in 2008.[10]

Olukotun has used several words from his African heritage in his research. Afara, the name of the company he founded, means "bridge" in the Yoruba language,[5] and he has named his server at Stanford Ogun after the Yoruba god of iron and steel, a play on words since large computers are frequently called big iron.[11]


  1. ^ EE faculty listing, CS faculty listing, and Pervasive Parallel Laboratory team listing, Stanford U., retrieved 2011-04-01.
  2. ^ a b About the company, UDC, retrieved 2011-04-01.
  3. ^ The dates of his Ph.D. vary by source. His personal web site and Stanford Engineering faculty profile (retrieved 2011-04-01) state it as 1991. It is 1994 according to Oyekunle A. Olukotun at the Mathematics Genealogy Project. In the entry for his dissertation in the ACM digital library, the year is stated as 1992.
  4. ^ Olukotun, Kunle; Nayfeh, Basem A.; Hammond, Lance; Wilson, Ken; Chang, Kunyung (1996), "The case for a single-chip multiprocessor", Proc. 7th ACM Int. Conf. Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS-VII), pp. 2–11, doi:10.1145/237090.237140 .
  5. ^ a b Geppert, Linda (January 2005), "Winner: Sun's Big Splash", IEEE Spectrum .
  6. ^ Kongetira, P.; Aingaran, K.; Olukotun, K. (2005), "Niagara: a 32-way multithreaded Sparc processor", IEEE Micro, 25 (2): 21–29, doi:10.1109/MM.2005.35 .
  7. ^ Vance, Ashlee (April 30, 2008), "Stanford grabs $6m to shape the future of software", The Register .
  8. ^ PPL Projects, retrieved 2011-04-01.
  9. ^ ACM Fellow Award Citation, ACM, retrieved 2011-04-01.
  10. ^ IEEE Fellows directory, retrieved 2011-04-01.
  11. ^ Irele, Abiola; Jeyifo, Biodun (2010), The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought, 1, Oxford University Press US, p. 197, ISBN 978-0-19-533473-9 . See also an email from Olukotun explaining the name, 2006, reproduced at Cognitive Diary.

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