Robert Dennard, an IBM Fellow whose development of DRAM in the mid-1960s led to dramatic increases in digital information storage, this past weekend in Japan was presented with the Kyoto Prize in electronics.
The Kyoto Prize from the non-profit Inamori Foundation is Japan’s highest private award for global achievement, and includes a 20-karat gold medal and $500,000 prize. Masatoshi Nei won the biological sciences prize and jazz pianist Cecil Taylor won the music prize, and all three winners are Americans still working well into their 80s.
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DRAM technology is found in most computers, from the smallest tablets and smartphones to the biggest mainframes, though SSD and other technologies are now starting to replace DRAM, even in supercomputers. Dennard, now 81, and IBM colleagues also made significant contributions to the miniaturization of transistors used in integrated circuits via the Dennard Scaling equations, which underpin Moore’s Law.
Dennard has been honored many times over, including with the National Medal of Technology in 1988.