Saburo Muroga Professorship in Computer Science
Established by Doug MacGregor (MS CS '80) to provide significant recognition of an outstanding faculty member, the Saburo Muroga Professorship in Computer Science honors the late Professor Muroga for his service and dedication to students as manifested through exemplary teaching and guidance. Upon graduating from Illinois, MacGregor was the microcoder and micromachine architect for the Motorola 68010 and 68020, after which he earned a PhD from Kyoto University in 1990. While in Japan, he started a joint venture with Matsushita to build Sun compatible servers and workstations, including the first million transistor microprocessor. Dr. MacGregor became an executive with Data General Corporation and then Dell Computer, where he ran the desktop and notebook businesses, after which he served on the faculty of the Harvard Business School. Originally established as a single Michael Faiman and Saburo Muroga Professorship in Computer Science, the Muroga Professorship was created in 2016 by splitting the original endowment.
Saburo Muroga received his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Tokyo in 1958. In 1964, he joined the newly established Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and conducted research in threshold logic, design automation, and computer-aided design of VLSI chips. Professor Muroga was recognized not only for his research, but also for his teaching and guidance of many graduate students.
A pioneer in parallel computer architectures, Josep Torrellas, the current Muroga Professor, has made important contributions to shared-memory multiprocessor design, including in cache hierarchies, coherence protocols, synchronization, consistency models, and thread-level speculation. These contributions make it easier to program parallel computers while enhancing their performance.
In addition, his work has improved the energy efficiency of multiprocessor architectures. He has devised techniques to handle process variation and wear-out, and to reduce the power consumption of extreme-scale computer systems.
Torrellas has contributed to several leading industry–government research projects in novel parallel computer architectures. These include the Illinois Aggressive Cache Only Memory Architecture (IACOMA), which was one of the 10 Point-Design Studies funded by the federal government in the 1990s to accelerate the development of petascale supercomputers. He also led the DARPA-funded M3T Polymorphic Computer Architecture and codirected the NSF-funded FlexRAM Intelligent Memory project.
Torrellas was one of the principal investigators (PIs) in the DARPA-funded IBM PERCS multiprocessor project, which led to the initial design of the Blue Waters supercomputer. He was also a co-PI of the DARPA- and DOE-funded Intel Runnemede multiprocessor, a 1000-core extreme-scale chip developed under the Ubiquitous High Performance Computing program. Before that, Torrellas contributed to the Stanford DASH and Illinois Cedar experimental multiprocessors.
Today, Torrellas is the director of the Center for Programmable Extreme-Scale Computing, which focuses on developing programmable, high performance, and very energy-efficient computers. He has been the director of the Illinois-Intel Parallelism Center (I2PC), whose aim was to promote parallel computing. In that center, he has worked with Intel to prototype deterministic replay multiprocessor hardware, and developed the novel Bulk Multicore concept.
Torrellas is a Fellow of AAAS, ACM, and IEEE. He has received the 2015 IEEE Computer Society Technical Achievement Award and the 2012 ICCD High-Impact Paper Award, among other awards and honors. He has held several national and international offices, including Chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Computer Architecture, Council Member of the Computing Community Consortium, and Member of the Board of Directors of the Computing Research Association.
Torrellas has graduated 36 doctoral students, of which 13 are faculty in the top CS and ECE departments in the nation.