From scaling mountains in the annual California Death Ride bike challenge to creating a low-cost, open-source ventilator in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, NVIDIA Chief Scientist Bill Dally is no stranger to accomplishing near-impossible feats.
On Friday, he achieved another rare milestone: induction into the Silicon Valley Engineering Council’s Hall of Fame.
The aim of the council — a coalition of engineering societies, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, SAE International and the Association for Computing Machinery — is to promote engineering programs and enhance society through science.
Since 1990, its Hall of Fame has honored engineers who have accomplished significant professional achievements while serving their profession and the wider community.
Previous inductees include industry luminaries such as Intel founders Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, former president of Stanford University and MIPS founder John Hennessy, and Google distinguished engineer and professor emeritus at UC Berkeley David Patterson.
Recognizing ‘an Industry Leader’
In accepting the distinction, Dally said, “I am honored to be inducted into the Silicon Valley Hall of Fame. The work for which I am being recognized is part of a large team effort. Many faculty and students participated in the stream processing research at Stanford, and a very large team at NVIDIA was involved in translating this research into GPU computing. It is a really exciting time to be a computer engineer.”
“The future is bright with a lot more demanding applications waiting to be accelerated using the principles of stream processing and accelerated computing.”
His induction kicked off with a video featuring colleagues and friends, spanning his career across Caltech, MIT, Stanford and NVIDIA.
In the video, NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang describes Dally as “an extraordinary scientist, engineer, leader and amazing person.”
Fei-Fei Li, professor of computer science at Stanford and co-director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI, commended Dally’s journey “from an academic scholar and a world-class researcher to an industry leader” who is spearheading one of the “biggest digital revolutions of our time in terms of AI — both software and hardware.”
Following the tribute video, Fred Barez, chair of the Hall of Fame committee and professor of mechanical engineering at San Jose State University, took the stage. He said of Dally: “This year’s inductee has made significant contributions, not just to his profession, but to Silicon Valley and beyond.”
Underpinning the GPU Revolution
As the leader of NVIDIA Research for nearly 15 years, Dally has built a team of more than 300 scientists around the globe, with groups covering a wide range of topics, including AI, graphics, simulation, computer vision, self-driving cars and robotics.
Prior to NVIDIA, Dally advanced the state of the art in engineering at some of the world’s top academic institutions. His development of stream processing at Stanford led directly to GPU computing, and his contributions are responsible for much of the technology used today in high-performance computing networks.