John Ruttenberg 71F returned to campus recently to give a talk entitled “My Contribution to Computer Performance:25 Years of Code Generation for Instruction Level Parallelism.” Ruttenberg spent his career working on compilers for computers with Instruction Level Parallelism (ILP).
After graduate work at Yale University, he was a founder of Multiflow Computer, a supercomputing start up that was a technical success, though a business failure. After Multiflow, he worked for Silicon Graphics (SGI) where he designed and wrote an effective code generator for the MIPS R8000 and R10000. He then worked as Chief Engineer at Tensilica, a provider of configurable soft CPUs for the embedded market.
After a diversion into Internet infrastructure optimization at Radiance Technology, he worked for two years at Tilera Corp, a start up providing leading multicore technology to the embedded market.
His talk at Hampshire focused on the elements of high performance code generation for Instruction-level parallelism (ILP) machines, starting with a background in the basic hardware and then developing an example of how the evolution of code generation techniques dramatically improves performance. He concluded with a high level view of his career in this area.
Says Neil Stillings, dean of the school of cognitive science and professor of psychology:
“In the Fall of 1971 John Ruttenberg arrived at Hampshire as a student and I arrived as a faculty member. John was one of the adventurous and incredibly bright students who took a chance on a new experimenting college in its first years. He was one of the first students I knew, and I came to know him well as a philosophy student in the School of Language & Communication (as Cognitive Science was then known). Although there were no computers on the Hampshire campus in the early 1970's, John found his way from Hampshire, first to one of the top philosophy graduate programs, then to graduate school in computer science at Yale, and finally into the cutting edge of the computer industry. It was a pleasure to have him back to campus to talk about his years in the industry and to show him what we are doing at Hampshire in computer science today.”