About Ken Kennedy

Ken Kennedy 1945 - 2007

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Ken Kennedy founded Rice University's nationally ranked computer science program, the Computer and Information Technology Institute (CITI), and was one of the world's foremost experts in high-performance computing.

With his untimely death, on February 7, 2007, after a long battle with cancer, Rice University lost one of its great intellectual leaders.

Ken Kennedy attended Rice University, receiving a B.A. in mathematics (summa cum laude) in 1967. He pursued graduate studies at New York University, where he earned a M.S. in mathematics in 1969 and a Ph.D. in computer science in 1971.

He returned to Rice University in 1971 to join the faculty of the Mathematical Sciences Department, rising to the rank of professor in 1980. He founded the Rice Computer Science Department in 1984 and served as its chair until 1988. He was named the Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science in 1985.

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In 1997, he became the first John and Ann Doerr Professor of Computational Engineering and, in 2002, he was promoted to University Professor. He directed the the Center for High Performance Software Research (HiPerSoft), which continues to be the administrative home for several multi-institutional research projects.

Professor Kennedy founded the Rice Computer and Information Technology Institute (CITI) in 1987 and served as its first chair. CITI was later renamed in December 2007 in Ken Kennedy's honor, and today continues his mission through the Ken Kennedy Institute at Rice University.

In 1989, Kennedy established the Center for Research on Parallel Computation (CRPC), a NSF Science and Technology Center, and directed it throughout its lifetime.

Kennedy directed the NSF-supported Virtual Grid Application Development Software (VGrADS) Project, a collaborative seven-institution research effort focused on application development support for computational grids. He served as the project director of the academic partner contract for the Los Alamos Computer Science Institute (LACSI), which is headquartered at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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Dr. Kennedy's research interests included parallel computing in science and engineering, scientific programming environments, and optimization of compiled code. He published two books and over two hundred technical articles on programming support software for high-performance computer systems.

Over his career, he supervised thirty-six Ph.D. dissertations and he directed the construction of several substantial software systems for programming parallel computers, including an automatic vectorizer for Fortran 77, an integrated scientific programming environment, compilers for Fortran 90 and High- Performance Fortran, and a compilation system for domain languages based on Matlab.

His research focused on new strategies for supporting high-level architecture-independent programming in science and engineering, with a particular emphasis on scalable parallel computers and the Grid. As director of the Telescoping Languages Project, he also worked on implementation strategies for high-level domain-specific programming languages.

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Professor Kennedy was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1990. He was named a Fellow of the AAAS in 1994 and of the ACM and IEEE in 1995. In 2005, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In recognition of his achievements in compilation for high performance computer systems, he was honored as the recipient of the 1995 W. W. McDowell Award, the highest research award of the IEEE Computer Society. In 1999, he was named recipient of the ACM SIGPLAN Programming Languages Achievement Award.

Professor Kennedy's service to the national community includes time as member (1997-2001) and co-chair (1997-99) of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC). For his leadership in producing the PITAC report, "Information Technology Research: Investing in Our Future," he received the Computing Research Association Distinguished Service Award (1999) and the RCI Seymour Cray HPCC Industry Recognition Award (1999).

Related links:

Ken Kennedy's Home Page

CITI renamed ‘Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology’

Workshop in Memory of Ken Kennedy

Cray Endows Graduate Fellowship at Rice

Remembering Rice Computing Pioneer Ken Kennedy

Ken Kennedy, 61, Pioneer of Computer Science Software, Dies

Memorial at PLDI for Ken Kennedy - Kathryn McKinley

Farewell Ken Kennedy: Computer scientist, scholar, teacher

Ken Kennedy Passes Away at 61 - Technology News Daily

CITI@20 Technical Symposium