Do The Academic And Entrepreneurial Worlds Function Differently


John Hennessy with Paul Saffo

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About this Video

from Computer History Museum

[Recorded March 18, 2008] John Hennessy, President of Stanford University and a computer pioneer, joins moderator Paul Saffo in this lively discussion hosted by the Computer History Museum. Saffo interviews Hennessy on a wide range of topics from the beginnings of Hennessey's career, to his work on the RISC architecture to the challenges of leading a major university. In 1977, Dr. Hennessy joined Stanford's faculty as an assistant professor of electrical engineering. He became a full professor in 1986, and was the inaugural Willard R. and Inez Kerr Bell Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from 1987 to 2004. In 1981, Dr. Hennessy drew together researchers to focus on a computer architecture known as RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer), a technology that revolutionized the computer industry by increasing performance while reducing cost. During his sabbatical year in 1984 he co-founded MIPS Computer Systems (now MIPS Technologies) to produce commercial RISC microprocessors. From 1983 to 1993, Dr. Hennessy was director of the Stanford Computer Systems Laboratory. He served as chair of Computer Science Department from 1994 to 1996, and in 1996 was named dean of the School of Engineering. As dean, he launched a five-year plan that laid the groundwork for new activities in bioengineering and biomedical engineering. In 1999 he was named Stanford's provost, the university's chief academic and financial officer. In October 2000 he was inaugurated as Stanford University's 10th president. In addition, Dr. Hennessy is currently a board member of some of Silicon Valley's most innovative companies including Google, Cisco and Atheros. Dr. Hennessey was awarded the Computer History Fellows Award in 2007 for his fundamental contributions to engineering education, advances in computer architecture, and the integration of leading-edge research with education.