Saburo Muroga Professorship in Computer Science

Established by Douglas B. 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. After earning a PhD from Kyoto University in 1990, Dr. MacGregor became an executive with Data General Corporation and Dell, formed a multimillion dollar joint venture with Matsushita, and 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 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.

Josep TorrellasA 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 addressed energy efficiency issues in multiprocessor architectures. He has devised techniques to handle process variation and wear-out, and to improve the energy efficiency of multicores.

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 high performance computing. 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 conducts research to make the multicores in smart phones and tablets more programmable, energy efficient, and secure. He is currently the director of the Center for Programmable Extreme-Scale Computing, which focuses on developing programmable, high performance, and very energy-efficient computers. He was also the director of the Illinois-Intel Parallelism Center (I2PC), whose aim was to promote parallel computing.

Torrellas is a Fellow of IEEE and ACM. 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 over 35 doctoral students, many of whom are now leaders in academia and industry.