The Register – The two engineers who further developed and popularized the concept of RISC microprocessors have won the 2017 ACM Turing Award.
Professors John Hennessy and David Patterson were today announced as this year’s (or last year’s, if you want to be particular about it) winners of the prestigious honor named after Brit super-boffin Alan Turing.
They’ll get to split a $1m prize, courtesy of Google. Hennessy happens to be the executive chairman of Google parent Alphabet, and Patterson works on the Google Brain team, it must be said. Patterson has already confirmed he’ll be donating his winnings to educational projects.
Of course, they earned the Turing gong. No suggestion of any favoritism here. No way, not when you consider their history.
Patterson led a UC Berkeley team that, in 1981, drew up the RISC-1, a 32-bit 31-instruction processor with 78 registers. The design used just 44,000 transistors, and outperformed CISC rivals that had more than double the number of transistors.
The RISC-1 would form the basis of today’s RISC architectures, and was picked up by Sun Microsystems to create the Sparc family of processors.