Temple to co-host symposium honoring the inventor of dynamic random access memory for computers
IBM’s Robert Dennard, the inventor of Dynamic Random Access Memory in computers and the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Medalist in Electrical Engineering, will be honored at a public symposium in Kiva Auditorium,Ritter Hall, on Wednesday, April 25.
Temple’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences in the College of Science and Technology is co-hosting the symposium with the Franklin Institute and Villanova University’s Center for Advanced Communications.
The symposium will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, and will explore and examine the work and achievements of Dennard, an IBM fellow in the Silicon Technology Department of IBM’s Research Division in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
Dennard will receive the Franklin Medal for his contributions to electrical engineering during a gala dinner to be held the following evening at the Franklin Institute. Among science’s highest honors, the Franklin Institute Awards “identify individuals whose great innovation has benefited humanity, advanced science, launched new fields of inquiry, and deepened our understanding of the universe.”
Previous recipients of the Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering include Thomas Edison and Edwin H. Armstrong, the inventor of FM radio.
Working at IBM since 1958, Dennard invented computer memory circuits in 1967 called DRAMs that are small, inexpensive and fast enough to permit powerful, affordable personal computers. He also contributed to the development of the mathematical formula used in shrinking circuits to allow more speed and complexity.
The size of the RAM on a computer is often quoted as a quick way of stating its speed, power and performance potential.
Often taken for granted today, the power to store huge amounts of information on a microscopic chip was, in fact, a key enabler of the electronics industry, making computers — not to mention cell phones, digital cameras and MP3 players — fast, affordable, small and efficient.
The symposium will feature remarks by Dennard, as well as talks given by a panel of electrical engineers that includes R. Jacob Baker, chair and professor of electrical engineering at Boise State University; Kiyoo Itoh, a fellow at Hitachi, Ltd.; and Bijan Davari, IBM fellow and vice president of Next Generation Computing Systems and Technology.
The Temple symposium honoring Dennard was co-organized by Temple Computer and Information Sciences Associate Professor Charles Kapps, who is also a member of the Franklin Institute’s Committee on Science and the Arts.
— Preston M. Moretz