To many, the name Ken Kennedy, Ann and John Doerr Professor of Computational Engineering, is synonymous with Rice University and the field of computer science. In accordance, the Association of Rice Alumni is honoring Kennedy with the 2002 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
"It is especially gratifying to be honored as a distinguished alumnus at Rice because I have spent my entire working career—31 years—here," Kennedy said.
Kennedy, who graduated summa cum laude in 1967 with a B.A. in mathematics, returned to Rice in 1971 after receiving his Ph.D. from New York University, and joined the faculty of the Mathematical Sciences Department. Kennedy founded the Computer Science Department in 1984, and helped establish Rice's national presence among the top 20 computer science departments within ten years.
In 1989, Kennedy created the Center for Research on Parallel Computation, the first National Science Foundation and Technology Center devoted to high performance computing. In 1992, he founded and chaired the High Performance Fortran Forum that produced the specification for High Performance Fortran (HPF). In recognition of Kennedy's work in this area, the ACM awarded him the SIGPLAN Programming Languages Achievement Award in 1998.
With Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems, Kennedy chaired the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee from 1997 to 1999, for which he received the Computing Research Association Distinguished Service Award in 1999.
In his nomination letter, Moshe Y. Vardi, George Professor in Computational Engineering and Computer Science Chair, cited Kennedy for his contributions to the computer science profession, which encompass the theory and practice of compiler optimization, and his leadership in the development of software for parallel computation.
Additionally Kennedy's research groups work on implementation and design for programming environments helped change the relationship between tools, compilers, and code written by programmers.
Kennedy is one of five alumni being honored at a reception on May 11, 2002 at the Houstonian Hotel.
April 29, 2002