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Mark Hill honored for improvements to vital computer memory systems

June 5, 2019 By Karen Barrett-Wilt

Mark Hill, a professor of computer science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has been awarded the 2019 Eckert-Mauchly Award by the Association for Computing Machinery and IEEE Computer Society for his contributions to computer memory systems.

Widely regarded as the leading memory systems researcher in the world today, Hill has made seminal contributions to improving the consistency of computer memory systems that our computer-based society relies on.

Mark Hill

“Mark has made significant contributions to the design and evaluation of memory systems for over three decades. It is great to see his contributions recognized by his winning the most prestigious award in computer architecture,” says Gurindar Sohi, chair of the Department of Computer Sciences and a fellow computer architecture researcher.

Hills has been analyzing and improving how computer memory functions since the 1980s. His developments became the basis of the memory models for the ubiquitous programming languages Java and C++ and improvements to graphics processing units.

Hill has also made significant contributions to the evaluation of parallel computers, which can be significantly more powerful than standard, linear computers. As part of the Wisconsin Wind Tunnel project, Hill and his colleagues pioneered fast parallel simulation running on parallel machines. BadgerTrap, one of his most recent tools, studies virtual memory behavior. His work on parallel computing is now used by the operating system Linux.

Hill has been a professor in the Department of Computer Sciences since 1988 and is currently John P. Morgridge Professor and Gene M. Amdahl Professor of Computer Sciences. He serves as chair of the Computer Community Consortium and is a member of the Computing Research Association Board of Directors. He also served as Wisconsin Computer Sciences Department Chair from 2014 to 2017.

Hill will be formally recognized with the award at the ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) to be held June 22–26 in Phoenix, Arizona.