John Hennessy joined Stanford in 1977 right after receiving his Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He soon became a leader of Reduced Instruction Set Computers. This research led to the founding of MIPS Computer Systems, which was later acquired for $320 million. There are still nearly a billion MIPS processors shipped annually, 30 years after the company was founded.
Hennessy returned to Stanford to do foundational research in large-scale shared memory multiprocessors. In his spare time, he co-authored two textbooks on computer architecture, which have been continuously revised and are still popular 25 years later. This record led to numerous honors, including ACM Fellow, election to both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences.
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