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ACM Thacker Breakthrough Award recognizes contributions that shaped cloud computing

IMAGE: Mendel Rosenblum is the recipient of the inaugural ACM Charles P. ‘Chuck’ Thacker Breakthrough in Computing Award. view more Credit: Courtesy, Stanford University ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, today announced that Mendel Rosenblum of Stanford University is the recipient of the inaugural ACM Charles P. "Chuck" Thacker Breakthrough in Computing Award. Rosenblum is recognized for reinventing the virtual machine for the modern era and thereby revolutionizing datacenters and enabling modern cloud computing. In the late 1990s, Rosenblum and his students at Stanford University brought virtual machines back to life by using them to solve challenging technical problems in building system software for scalable multiprocessors. In 1998, Rosenblum and colleagues founded VMware. VMware popularized the use of virtual machines as a means of supporting many disparate software environments to share processor resources within a datacenter. This approach ultimately led to the development of modern cloud computing services such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. The ACM Charles P. "Chuck" Thacker Breakthrough in Computing Award recognizes individuals or groups who have made surprising, disruptive, or leapfrog contributions to computing ideas or technologies. Recipients of the award are expected to give the ACM Breakthrough Lecture at a major ACM conference. The award is accompanied by a $100,000 cash prize, with financial support provided by Microsoft. Rosenblum will formally receive the award at ACM’s annual Awards Banquet on June 15, 2019 in San Francisco. "The new paradigm of cloud computing, in which computing services are delivered over the internet, has been one of the most important developments in the computing industry over the past 20 years," said ACM President Cherri M. Pancake. "Cloud computing has vastly improved the efficiency of systems, reduced costs, and been essential to the operations of businesses at all levels. However, cloud computing, as we know it today, would not be possible without Rosenblum’s reinvention of virtual machines. His leadership, both through his early research at Stanford and his founding of VMware, has been indispensable to the rise of datacenters and the preeminence of the cloud." As the name suggests, virtual machines are systems comprised of software, hardware, or a combination of the two, that enable one computer to behave like another. IBM and others developed the idea of virtualization in the 1960s to enable timesharing. However, as new methods of timesharing were developed and the price of hardware dropped, virtual machines fell out of favor. By the late 1980s, virtualization was considered an irrelevant and obsolete idea. In the late 1990s, Rosenblum and his students at Stanford University revisited the idea of virtual machines to develop system software for FLASH, an experimental large-scale multiprocessor. They recognized that existing operating systems could not support large numbers of processors, and modifying one to work efficiently on FLASH would have been very difficult. Instead, they decided to use virtual machines to run multiple operating system instances on FLASH, each with only a few virtual processors. The success of his work on FLASH prompted Rosenblum to found […]

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