Nicholas (Nick) William McKeown FREng, is a professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments at Stanford University. He has also started technology companies in Silicon Valley.
Nick McKeown was born April 7, 1963 in Bedford, England. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Leeds in 1986. From 1986 through 1989 he worked for Hewlett-Packard Labs, in their network and communications research group in Bristol, England. He moved to the United States in 1989 and earned both his master's degree in 1992 and PhD in 1995 from the University of California at Berkeley. During spring 1995, he worked briefly for Cisco Systems where he helped architect their GSR 12000 router. His PhD thesis was on "Scheduling Cells in an Input-Queued Cell Switch", with advisor Professor Jean Walrand. He joined the faculty of Stanford University in 1995 as assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science. In 1997, McKeown co-founded Abrizio Inc. with Anders Swahn, where he was CTO. Abrizio was acquired by PMC-Sierra in 1999 for stock shares worth $400 million. He was promoted to associate professor in 2002. He was co-founder in 2003 (with Sundar Iyer) and CEO of Nemo Systems, which Cisco Systems bought for $12.5 million cash in 2005. He became faculty director of the Clean Slate Program in 2006, and was promoted to full professor at Stanford in 2010.
McKeown is active in the software-defined networking (SDN) movement, which he helped start with Scott Shenker and Martin Casado. SDN and OpenFlow arose from the PhD work of Casado at Stanford University, where he was a student of McKeown. OpenFlow is a novel programmatic interface for controlling network switches, routers, WiFi access points, cellular base stations and WDM/TDM equipment. OpenFlow challenged the vertically integrated approach to switch and router design of the past twenty years. McKeown works closely with Guru Parulkar, Executive Director of the Stanford Open Network Research Centre (ONRC) and the Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab).
In 2007, Casado, McKeown and Shenker co-founded Nicira Networks, a Palo Alto, California based company working on network virtualization, acquired by VMWare for $1.26 billion in July 2012. In 2011, McKeown and Shenker co-founded the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) to transfer control of OpenFlow to a newly created not-for-profit organization.
Awards and distinctions
In 2000, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Communications Society Stephen O. Rice Prize for the best paper in communications theory went to a paper on "Achieving 100% Throughput in an Input-Queued Switch", which McKeown co-authored with Adisak Mekkittikul, Venkat Anantharam and Jean Walrand. The paper discussed dealing with the problem of head-of-line blocking using Virtual Output Queues.
McKeown holds an honorary doctorate from ETH Zurich. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of Electrical Engineering at University of California at Berkeley. In 2012, McKeown received the ACM Sigcomm "Lifetime Achievement" Award "for contributions to the design, analysis, and engineering of high-performance routers, resulting in a major impact on the global Internet". McKeown was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering in 2011. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK), a Fellow of the IEEE and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). In 2005, he was awarded the Lovelace Medal from the British Computer Society where he gave a lecture on "Internet Routers (Past Present and Future)". The citation described him as "the world's leading expert on router design." In 2009, he received the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award. At Stanford he has been the STMicroelectronics Faculty Scholar, the Robert Noyce Faculty Fellow, a Fellow of the Powell Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and recipient of a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.
McKeown entertained at the TED 2006 Conference in Monterey, where he took the stage for 3 minutes and juggled balls while reciting Pi to 200 places.
McKeown was an international swimmer and competed for Great Britain in the 1985 World Student Games in Kobe, where he swam 100m breaststroke.
Opposition to the death penalty
McKeown is involved in the movement to abolish the death penalty. In 2001, he co-funded the Death Penalty Clinic at the UC Berkeley School of Law (known as Boalt Hall) in Berkeley, California. In 2009, he received the Abolition Award from Death Penalty Focus.
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- Nick McKeown; Adisak Mekkittikul; Venkat Anantharam; Jean Walrand (August 1999). "Achieving 100% Throughput in an Input-Queued Switch" (PDF). IEEE Transactions on Communications. 47 (8): 1260–1267. doi:10.1109/26.780463.
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