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John L. Hennessy

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Title: John L. Hennessy  
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Subject: Stanford University, MIPS Technologies, MIPS instruction set, Stanford University School of Engineering, Google platform
Collection: 1952 Births, American Computer Scientists, American Corporate Directors, American People of Irish Descent, Computer Designers, Directors of Google, Fellows of the Association for Computing MacHinery, Living People, Members of the United States National Academy of Engineering, Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences, Mips Technologies, Presidents of Stanford University, Provosts of Stanford University, Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award Recipients, Stanford University School of Engineering Faculty, Stony Brook University Alumni, Villanova University Alumni
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John L. Hennessy

John L. Hennessy
President of Stanford University
Assumed office
Provost of Stanford University
In office
Preceded by Condoleezza Rice
Succeeded by John Etchemendy
Personal details
Born September 1952 (age 63)
Citizenship American
Residence Lou Henry and Herbert Hoover House, Stanford, California, United States
Alma mater Stony Brook University (M.S., 1975; Ph.D., 1977)
Villanova University (B.S., 1973)
Known for MIPS Technologies, Atheros Inc.
Awards IEEE Medal of Honor (2012)
Computer History Museum Fellow (2007) [1]
National Academy of Engineering Member
National Academy of Sciences Member
American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow
ACM Fellow
IEEE Fellow
Website /

John Leroy Hennessy (born September 22, 1952) is an American computer scientist, academician, and businessman. Hennessy is one of the founders of MIPS Computer Systems Inc. as well as Atheros and is the tenth President of Stanford University. Marc Andreessen called him "the godfather of Silicon Valley".[2]


  • Early life and career 1
  • Research 2
  • Noted publications 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life and career

Hennessy was raised in Huntington, New York, as one of six children.[2] His father was an aerospace engineer and his mother was a teacher before raising her children.[2]

He earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Villanova University, and his master's degree and Ph.D. in computer science from Stony Brook University.[3] He is married to his high school sweetheart, Andrea Berti.[2]

Hennessy became a Stanford faculty member in 1977. In 1984, he used his sabbatical year to found MIPS Computer Systems Inc. to commercialize his research in RISC processors. In 1987, he became the Willard and Inez Kerr Bell Endowed Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.[3]

Hennessy served as director of Stanford's Computer System Laboratory (1989–93), a research center run by Stanford's Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments. He was chair of the Department of Computer Science (1994–96) and Dean of the School of Engineering (1996–99).[3]

In 1999, Stanford President Gerhard Casper appointed Hennessy to succeed Condoleezza Rice as Provost of Stanford University. When Casper stepped down to focus on teaching in 2000, the Stanford Board of Trustees named Hennessy to succeed Casper as president. In 2008, Hennessy earned a salary of $1,091,589 ($702,771 base salary, $259,592 deferred benefits, $129,226 non-tax benefits), the 23rd highest among all American university presidents.[4]

In 1997, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).[5]

Hennessy is a board member of Google,[6] Cisco Systems,[7] Atheros Communications,[8] and the Daniel Pearl Foundation.[9]

In 2007, he was made 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]

On October 14, 2010, Hennessy was presented a khata by the 14th Dalai Lama before His Holiness addressed Maples Pavilion.[11]

In December 2010, Hennessy coauthored an editorial with Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust urging the passage of the DREAM Act;[12] the legislation did not pass the 111th United States Congress.

In 2012, Hennessy was awarded the IEEE Medal of Honor.[13] The IEEE awarded Hennessy their highest recognition "for pioneering the RISC processor architecture and for leadership in computer engineering and higher education".[14] In 2012, Hennessy received an honorary doctor of mathematics degree from the University of Waterloo (Canada), in celebration of his profound contributions to modern computer architecture and to post-secondary education.

In June 2015, Hennessy announced that he would step down as Stanford president in summer 2016.[15]


Hennessy has a history of strong interest and involvement in college-level computer education. He co-authored, with

Academic offices
Preceded by
Condoleezza Rice
Provost of Stanford University
Succeeded by
John Etchemendy
Preceded by
Gerhard Casper
President of Stanford University
Succeeded by
  • Official Biography from the Office of the President of Stanford University
  • The Secret of Silicon Valley, John Hennessy speaks at Stanford
  • Interview with John Hennessy
  • Interview with John Hennessy, concerning the video game industry (audio and text) - 2009-06-22
  • John L. Hennessey Papers

External links

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  • Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach[16]

Noted publications

Hennessy also contributed to updating Donald Knuth's MIX processor to the MMIX. Both are model computers used in Knuth's classic series, The Art of Computer Programming. MMIX is Knuth's DLX equivalent.

for graduate and undergraduate courses since 1990. textbooks RISC architecture. They have been widely used as DLX which introduced the [16]

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