Yale Patt is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Ernest Cockrell, Jr. Centennial Chair in Engineering, and a Distinguished University Teaching Professor at The University of Texas at Austin.
He enjoys equally teaching freshmen, teaching graduate students, and directing the research of six PhD students in high performance computer implementation. He has, for more than 50 years, combined an active research program with extensive consulting and a strong commitment to teaching.
The focus of his research is generally five to ten years beyond what industry provides at that point in time. His rationale has always been that he does not do revenue shipments, preferring to produce knowledge that will be useful to future revenue shipments and, more importantly, graduates who will design those future products.
In 1965, Yale Patt introduced the WOS module, the first complex logic gate implemented on a single piece of silicon ["A complex logic module for the synthesis of combinatorial switching circuits," Proceedings of the 1967 Spring Joint Computer Conference, Atlantic City, April, 1967]. In 1984, he (and his students Wen-mei Hwu, Steve Melvin, and Mike Shebanow) introduced HPS, a high performance microarchitecture that exploits instruction level parallelism by combining wide-issue (fetching and issuing multiple instructions each cycle), aggressive dynamic branch prediction, dynamic scheduling, out-of-order execution, and checkpoint, in-order retirement (enabling precise exceptions). The first two papers describing this work, "HPS, A New Microarchitecture: Rationale and Introduction" and "Critical Issues Regarding HPS, A High Performance Microarchitecture," were presented at Micro-18, and published in the Proceedings of the 18th Microprogramming Workshop, Asilomar, CA, December, 1985. In 1991 he (and his student Tse-Yu Yeh) introduced the Two-Level Adaptive Branch Predictor, which provided much greater accuracy than was available before that. The paper, "Two-Level Adaptive Branch Prediction," was presented at Micro-24, and published in the Proceedings of the 24th International Symposium and workshop on Microarchitecture, Albuquerque, November, 1991. His papers have received Test of Time Awards from both the International Symposium on Computer Architecture and the International Symposium on Microarchitecture.
Today, Yale Patt works on problems for the microprocessors of the year 2025, when technology promises each chip will contain more than 50 billion transistors, but that power and energy will be an even more important problem than they are today. His research focuses on breaking the abstraction layers that separate the problem statement in natural language from the circuits that execute the program. Some of his current projects include (1) ACMP, a heterogeneous multi-core microprocessor, where many of the cores are reconfigurable either for high-performance ILP or for high-throughput, (2) improving the interface between the processor core and the DRAMs, (3) GPUs for non graphics processing, (4) effective prefetching in a multi-core environment, and (5) more effective use of the run-time system for performance, and (6) use of machine learning to improve on the best current branch predictors available today.
Much as he enjoys research, Professor Patt's first love is teaching. The focus of his teaching has always been on understanding the fundamentals. At Michigan, he overhauled the introductory computer organization course, the intensive computer design course, and (with his former colleague Kevin Compton) the first required computing course for undergraduate EE, CS, and CE majors. Their motivated bottom-up approach is the subject of the textbook, "Introduction to Computing Systems, From Bits and Gates to C and Beyond," McGraw-Hill, 2001, ISBN: 0-07-237690-2, which he co-authored with his former PhD student Sanjay Jeram Patel, who is now a tenured senior Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The 2nd edition was published in 2004, ISBN 0-07-246750-9, and the 3rd edition is in progress.
Yale Patt has also taught more than 5000 engineers in industry, -- in ACM/IEEE conference tutorials and in short courses at company sites. He has also taught accelerated week-long courses to graduate students at several universities, including UPC in Barcelona, Tampere Institute of Technology, TU-Delft, and the University of Amsterdam.
Yale Patt earned his BS at Northeastern University and his MS and PhD at Stanford University, all in electrical engineering. He has received the highest honors in his field for both research and teaching, the 1996 IEEE/ACM Eckert-Mauchly Award (the highest award for research in computer architecture), "for important contributions to instruction level paralelism and superscalar processor design," and the 2000 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Award (the highest ACM award for education and teaching). He has also received the 1995 IEEE Emannuel R. Piore Medal "for contributions to computer architecture leading to commercially viable high performance microprocessors," the 1999 IEEE Wallace W. McDowell Award "for your impact on the high performance microprocessor industry via a combination of important contributions to both engineering and education," the IEEE Computer Society Charles Babbage Award "for fundamental contributions to high performance processor design." In 2011, he was selected as the inaugural recipient of the annual IEEE B. Ramakrishna Rau Award "for significant contributions and inspiring leadership in the microarchitecture community with respect to teaching, mentoring, research, and service." In 2013, he received the IEEE Computer Society Harry H. Goode Award "for nearly half a century of significant contributions to information processing, including microarchitecture insights, a breakaway textbook, and mentoring future leaders." He is a Fellow of both the IEEE and the ACM, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
For his teaching, in addition to the ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award for 2000, he was inducted in 2011 into The University of Texas Academy of Distinguished Teachers, a body charged with advising the President of the University in matters of undergraduate education. He also received the 2002 Texas Excellence Teaching Award for the College of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, the 2002 Dad's Centennial Fellowship for his commitment to teaching freshmen. He has received the Outstanding ECE Professor Award from the Student Engineeing Council at Texas an unprecedented four times, in 2007, 2009, 2014, and 2016, and this year the highest teaching award at The University of Texas, the 2017 Friars Centennial Teaching Fellowship. He was the first Engineering Professor to receive the Friars Award in more than 20 years. At Michigan, he was named Outstanding Professor of the Year by the Michigan Chapter of Eta Kappa Nu in 1992. He received the Teaching Excellence Award of the EECS Department at Michigan in 1995 and the College of Engineering of Michigan in 1996. In 1998, he was named an Arthur F. Thurnau professor at Michigan for his commitment to undergraduate education. In 1999 (for the academic year 1998-1999), and again in 2001 (for the academic year 2000-2001), he was named the National ACM Lectureship Program's Outstanding Lecturer of the Year.