Yale Patt Honored for Pioneering Contributions to Microprocessor Development

Cockrell School of Engineering professor Yale Patt has been honored by The Franklin Institute with the 2016 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science. He is receiving the medal for his “pioneering contributions to the design of modern microprocessors that achieve higher performance by automatically identifying computer instructions that can be performed simultaneously.”

yale patt

Patt, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and an international authority on computer architecture, with a particular emphasis on microprocessor design and function. In 1965, he introduced the WOS module, the first complex logic gate, or logical operation, implemented on a single piece of silicon. Two decades later, he and his students developed the HPS (high-performance substrate) microarchitecture, a design that is incorporated in almost every microprocessor used today.

“Over the decades, Yale introduced several disruptive innovations in computer architecture and CPU design,” said Ahmed Tewfik, chair of the electrical and computer engineering department. “His work is embedded in every tablet, smart phone and computer we use.”

Patt has been recognized with many international awards for his groundbreaking work in computing, including the Eckert-Mauchly Award in computer architecture from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society. In 2014, he was elected to the NAE for his contributions to high-performance microprocessor architecture. Patt is also a fellow of IEEE and the Association for Computing Machinery.

Additionally, Patt is passionate about teaching, having been a professor for nearly 50 years. He joined The University of Texas at Austin in 1999, after teaching at the University of Michigan, UC Berkeley, and Cornell, among other institutions. With one of his former students, he wrote the textbook “Introduction to Computing Systems: From Bits and Gates to C and Beyond,” which is used by more than 100 universities worldwide in introductory computing classes for undergraduate students. He has received numerous recognitions for his dedication to teaching, including the international Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award.

“The Franklin Institute Awards is one of the most important ways we continue the strong legacy set forth by Benjamin Franklin,” said Larry Dubinski, president and CEO of The Franklin Institute. “These are some of the greatest minds and most influential pioneers of our time who are recognized here in Philadelphia for their accomplishments that will no doubt impact each and every one of us in some way, at some time. They are the Franklins of today, who will certainly help inspire the Franklins of tomorrow.”

Patt will be presented with his Franklin Medal in April at a weeklong celebration of The Franklin Institute Awards recipients. Located in Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a leading science and technology museum and center that was founded in 1824 in honor of Benjamin Franklin. The annual Benjamin Franklin Medals are presented in the following disciplines: chemistry, computer and cognitive science, earth and environmental science, life science, physics, and civil, electrical and mechanical engineering.