Maurice Herlihy, professor of computer science, is the 2013 recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s prestigious W. Wallace McDowell Award. He was recognized by the society for “fundamental contributions to the theory and practice of multiprocessor computation.” Among other accomplishments, Herlihy helped to develop transactional memory, a technique that helps computers with multiple processors coordinate shared data revisions in real time.
Both Intel and IBM have incorporated the technique in hardware architecture. Herlihy’s many publications during his nearly 30-year academic career have been cited more than 15,000 times, and he was named to the National Academy of Engineers earlier this year. The McDowell Award is given for outstanding theoretical, design, educational, practical, or other innovative contributions in the field of computing. Past winners include FORTRAN creator John W. Backus (1967), Intel Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore (1978), and Tim Berners-Lee (1996), who is credited with the invention of the World Wide Web.