Today we lost one of computing's giants, Ken Kennedy. Ken waged a valiant fight against cancer, with courage, grace and good humor. My heart goes out to Ken's wife Carol, who was the love of his life. Today we lost one of computing's giants, Ken Kennedy. Ken waged a valiant fight against cancer, with courage, grace and good humor. My heart goes out to Ken's wife Carol, who was the love of his life.
Ken made deep and seminal contributions to high performance computing, automatic parallelization and high-level languages. His work on Fortran D and High-Performance Fortran (HPF) was far ahead of its time. By applying advanced parallelization techniques to data parallel languages, HPF supported a succinct and powerful data parallel metaphor on distributed memory (message passing) systems.
In addition to his research and the generations of students, Ken was the co-chair of the President's IT Advisory Committee (PITAC) and the driving force behind PITAC's 1999 report, Information Technology Research: Investing in Our Future. This report was the genesis of the NSF Information Technology Research (ITR) program and a international recognition that computing was a critical enabler of economic competitiveness.
On a more personal note, Ken was my colleague, my collaborator and my friend. We were reserach partners on a host of projects, beginning with integrated performance analysis and optimization for Fortran D in the early 1990s and continuing through the Los Alamos Computer Science Institute (LACSI) and the GrADS and VGrADS projects.
When the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign held an investiture ceremony when I was named a Gutgsell Professor, there was only one person I wanted to speak at the ceremony -- Ken Kennedy.
I miss my friend. Computing is the less today for his passing.
The New York Times and the Rice University announcements describe Ken's many accomplishments in detail.