|10th President of Stanford University|
|Provost of Stanford University|
John Leroy Hennessy|
Huntington, New York
Stony Brook University (M.S., 1975; Ph.D., 1977) |
Villanova University (B.S., 1973)
|Known for||RISC, MIPS Technologies, Atheros|
Turing Award (2017)|
IEEE Medal of Honor (2012)
Computer History Museum Fellow (2007) 
National Academy of Engineering Member
National Academy of Sciences Member
American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow
|Thesis||A real-time language for small processors: design, definition and implementation (1977)|
|Doctoral advisor||Richard Kieburtz|
John Leroy Hennessy (born September 22, 1952) is an American computer scientist, academician, businessman and Chairman of Alphabet Inc. Hennessy is one of the founders of MIPS Computer Systems Inc. as well as Atheros and served as the tenth President of Stanford University. Hennessy announced that he would step down in the summer of 2016. He was succeeded as President by Marc Tessier-Lavigne.Marc Andreessen called him "the godfather of Silicon Valley."
Along with David Patterson, Hennessy won the 2017 Turing Award for their work in developing the reduced instruction set computer (RISC) architecture, which is now used in 99% of new computer chips.
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. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Andrea Berti.
Hennessy became a Stanford faculty member in 1977. In 1981, he began the MIPS project to investigate RISC processors, and in 1984, he used his sabbatical year to found MIPS Computer Systems Inc. to commercialize the technology developed by his research. In 1987, he became the Willard and Inez Kerr Bell Endowed Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
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).
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.
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".
In December 2010, Hennessy coauthored an editorial with Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust urging the passage of the DREAM Act; the legislation did not pass the 111th United States Congress.
In 2012, Hennessy was awarded the IEEE Medal of Honor. The IEEE awarded Hennessy their highest recognition "for pioneering the RISC processor architecture and for leadership in computer engineering and higher education". 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 2013, Hennessy became a judge for the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. He has remained on the judging panel for the subsequent awards in 2015 and 2017.
In June 2015, Hennessy announced that he would step down as Stanford president in summer 2016.
In 2016, Hennessy co-founded the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program; he serves as its inaugural director. The program has a $750 million endowment to fully fund graduate students at Stanford for up to three years. The inaugural class of 51 scholars from 21 countries will arrive at Stanford in the fall of 2018.
On March 21, 2018, together with David Patterson, he was awarded the 2017 ACM A.M. Turing Award for the development of the reduced instruction set computer (RISC) architecture in the 1980s.. The award praised them for "pioneering a systematic, quantitative approach to the design and evaluation of computer architectures with enduring impact on the microprocessor industry".
Hennessy has a history of strong interest and involvement in college-level computer education. He co-authored, with David A. Patterson, two well-known books on computer architecture, Computer Organization and Design: the Hardware/Software Interface and Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach, which introduced the DLX RISC architecture. They have been widely used as textbooks for graduate and undergraduate courses since 1990.
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.
In 2004, he was awarded the Association for Computing Machinery SIGARCH ISCA Influential Paper Award for his 1989 co-authored paper on high performing cache hierarchies. He received the award again in 2009 for his 1994 co-authored paper on the Stanford FLASH multiprocessor.