Kuck Inducted into the Engineering at Illinois Hall of Fame
Retired CS and ECE Professor David J. Kuck was inducted into the Engineering at Illinois Hall of Fame “for significant contributions in both research and development through industry to productivity tools in parallel computing.”
Kuck is one of the most influential figures in parallel computing, especially in productivity tools for parallel programming. Over the past four decades, he influenced a wide range of areas including architecture design and evaluation, compiler technology, programming languages, and algorithms. His influence has been both theoretical and practical.
Kuck was a professor of both computer science and electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois from 1965 to 1993. At Illinois, he, along with Ahmed Sameh, helped create the Computational Sciences program, which initiated a new and unique research focus that has contributed significantly to Illinois’ multidisciplinary excellence. The Center for Supercomputing Research and Development at Illinois, which he created in 1983, was extraordinarily influential in developing parallel computing technology (from hardware to algorithms) in the era of vectorization and symmetric multiprocessing.
As founder and Director of Kuck and Associates (KAI) and later as an Intel Fellow, Kuck’s work subsequently influenced industry. Every compiler in use today incorporates techniques pioneered by Kuck, targeting parallelism in its many forms and managing locality. In this era of multi-core and many-core architectures and petascale supercomputers, this work is now more important than ever, adapting software to use new hardware effectively. As an outgrowth of his compiler work, he initiated efforts that led to the development of OpenMP, the most common solution for incorporating threads into scientific applications.
His R&D career has included contributions to the architecture and software of a number of parallel computer systems, including Illiac IV, Burroughs BSP, Alliant FX, and Cedar, as well as the development of the Parafrase compilation software for parallel program restructuring.
Kuck is a Fellow of the IEEE, ACM, and AAAS. He has received a number of awards for computer architecture and software design, including the IEEE Piore Award, the IEEE Computer Society’s 2011 Computer Pioneer Award, the ACM-IEEE Eckert-Mauchly and Kennedy Awards. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
A number of students who studied under Kuck have gone on to have significant influence in the field, as academics, authors of influential books, and leaders in industry.
Kuck received a BSEE from the University of Michigan in 1959, and MS and PhD in Engineering from Northwestern University in 1960 and 1963, respectively. He was a Ford Foundation postdoctoral research assistant and Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT prior to joining the faculty at Illinois.