For Immediate Release (Technical Audience):

Ken Kennedy To Co-Chair Clinton's HPCC Advisory Committee


IndentPresident Clinton today appointed Rice University Computer Science Professor Ken Kennedy to co-chair a new committee that will advise the federal government on issues that impact high-end computing, information technology, and networking. Kennedy, who also serves as Director of the Center for Research on Parallel Computation (CRPC), headquartered at Rice, was one of 20 representatives from academia, industry, and government to be invited to serve on the Advisory Committee on High Performance Computing and Communications, Information Technology, and the Next Generation Internet. Kennedy expects that the committee, which will advise the White House through the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), will "focus on federal programs of research investment in high-end computer, information, and communication technologies, like the Next Generation Internet, but will stay away from regulatory issues."

Throughout his career, Kennedy has made major contributions to the field of high performance computing. As Director of the CRPC, an NSF-funded Science and Technology Center, Kennedy coordinates seven participating institutions and six affiliated sites across the country in a program of research to make scalable parallel computer systems as usable as sequential systems are today. The center is also committed to education and outreach efforts that prepare future generations for scientific problem solving and parallel computation. CRPC funding of approximately $56 million from 1989 to the year 2000 represents the largest research grant in the history of Rice University.

"President Clinton could not have made a wiser choice than Ken Kennedy," said Rice President Malcolm Gillis. "Ken will bring to the advisory committee a wealth of experience in high-performance computing and a bold vision for the future of computers. Ken's direction of the CRPC at Rice has been an indispensable element of our initiatives in computational engineering. We can expect that, under his leadership, the committee will achieve its ambitious goals."

Kennedy's research accomplishments with the CRPC include developing effective machine-independent parallel programming interfaces. He and CRPC collaborators proposed Fortran D, an extended version of Fortran that permits the specification of data distributions for arrays across the processors of a parallel machine. Kennedy directed a prototype compiler development effort at Rice that validated the concept. This effort led to the establishment, under his direction, of the High Performance Fortran Forum, a broad-based consortium to develop extensions to Fortran 90 aimed at high performance on parallel machines. The resulting standard for High Performance Fortran has found wide acceptance in the HPCC community.

In addition to his research contributions, Kennedy has led numerous technology and knowledge transfer efforts in his role as CRPC Director. Notable among these is the National HPCC Software Exchange, an online distribution system that provides a central access point for HPCC technologies and facilitates the development of discipline-oriented software repositories. He also spearheaded the CRPC Retooling Project, an effort to develop educational materials that can be used by supercomputer center staff trainers to teach new concepts in parallel computation.

Before leading the CRPC, Kennedy's pioneering efforts were recognized in the HPCC community and industry. While he was on sabbatical at IBM in 1978 and 1979, he began the development of one of the earliest and most successful automatic vectorization systems for Fortran. This project, which was continued with IBM support after his return to Rice, influenced the design of many commercial products. In the early 1980s, he began to extend his methods for vectorization to automatic parallelization. His work on the Rn programming environment led to the development of new algorithms for interprocedural data flow analysis. The approach used in the Rn environment was adopted in the Convex Applications Compiler, the first commercial compiler to use interprocedural optimization in Fortran. In the late 1980s, Kennedy and his group produced the ParaScope Editor, an advanced editor and interactive analysis system for parallelization of Fortran 77 that has been widely distributed and is the basis for at least one commercial product.

Kennedy, who has held the Noah Harding Professorship in the Department of Computer Science at Rice University since 1985, received his B.A. in mathematics summa cum laude from Rice (1967), and his M.S. in mathematics and Ph.D. in computer science from New York University (1969 and 1971). Kennedy has been a faculty member at Rice University since 1971. He has been recognized as an outstanding teacher, receiving the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching in 1979. His 30th Ph.D. student will graduate this year. He is also a founding member of the W.M. Keck Center for Computational Biology at Rice University, a joint effort of Rice, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Houston.

In 1990, Kennedy was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Currently, he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Association for Computing Machinery. He won the W. Wallace McDowell Award for Contributions to Compiler Optimization and Leadership in Software Development for Parallel Computation in 1995. He is on the Board of Directors for Tera Computer Company (Seattle, WA) and AccessWare (Houston, TX), and is a consultant for Hewlett Packard (Palo Alto, CA). He has served as Artistic Advisory Vice President of the Houston Society for the Performing Arts since 1986.

For more information, contact Danny Powell at, 713-348-6011, or 713-348-5136 (fax).

[Ken Kennedy's Home Page - CRPC Home Page - Search the CRPC Web Site]


Updated by Debbie Campbell (
Posted February 13, 1997.