School of Information Science - Hall of Fame

W. Daniel Hillis
  • W. Daniel Hillis
  • Born: September 25, 1956
  • Field: Computer hardware; computer science; computing industry
  • Focus: Developed the first massively parralel computer that connected thousands of processors, the parallal-distributed processing (PDP) Connection Machine.
  • Country: United States
  • Era: 1990 to present

Daniel Hillis cofounded Applied Minds and Thinking Machines Corporation. Applied Minds offers technology, design, and consulting services. The Connection Machine was Thinking Machine Corporation's major product which was the first massively parallel computer that incorporated thousands of interconnected processors. This was also the topic of his Ph.D. dissertation research at MIT. Hillis is also a Disney Fellow and Vice-President of R&D at Disney. At Disney, he has been working on new technologies and strategies for theme parks, television, motion pictures, and other businesses. Hillis is also the cofounder of Terrapin, which is the creator of elementary school computer software. He is also the cofounder of the Long Now Foundation and the Clock Library.

Hillis is currently working on reserach in the areas of evolution and parallel learning algorithms, and producing efficient sorting programs by using simulations that are models of biological evolution. He is an adjunct professor at MIT in the Media Laboratory. Hillis holds forty U.S. patents and has been the recipient of ACM's Grace Murray Hopper award, the Spirit of American Creativity award, and the Ramanujan award. The patents cover parallel computers, disk arrays, forgery prevention methods, and a 10,00 year clock. Hillis is a Fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Association of Computing Machinery. He is co-chairman of the board of the Long Now Foundation. and a member of the board of the Hertz Foundation.

Related Links