A Parallel Architecture Canon

Friday, November 20, 2015
3:30 PM to 4:30 PM
POB 2.302
Free and open to the public

Abstract: I have been pursuing a set of architectural principles for general-purpose parallel computing for quite a while now. These principles, and the implementations that occurred to me while pursuing them, arrived one at a time as ideas generally do. Many of them are well known, at least approximately, but the synergy among them is not widely understood. I hope this talk will help remedy that.

One might wonder which of the several meanings of the word "canon" I intend here...

1. An ecclesiastical person: no.

2. A set of principles: yes.

3. A recognized body of writing: not enough, perhaps.

4. A large arroyo: no, that's "cañon".

5. A fugue, e.g. "Row, Row, Row Your Boat": yes.

x x


Burton Smith


Burton J. Smith, Technical Fellow for Microsoft Corporation, works with various groups within the company to help address the challenges brought about by the emergence of many-core systems and the increasing importance of distributed services.  Before joining Microsoft in December 2005 he co-founded Cray Inc., formerly Tera Computer Company, where he variously served as its chief scientist, a member of the board of directors, and its chairman until 1999.  Before that, Smith spent six years with Denelcor, Inc. and three years at the Institute for Defense Analyses Supercomputing Research Center. 

In 2003, Smith received the Seymour Cray Award from the IEEE Computer Society and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.  He received the Eckert-Mauchly Award in 1991 given jointly by IEEE and ACM and was elected a fellow of each organization in 1994.  He was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010.  Smith attended the University of New Mexico, where he earned a BSEE degree, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned SM, EE, and Sc.D degrees.