February 15, 2006
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has elected ECE alumnus Bob Colwell (M.S. 1978, Ph.D. 1985) "for contributions to turning novel computer architecture concepts into viable, cutting-edge commercial processors." Membership in the NAE honors those who have made important contributions to engineering theory and practice and who have demonstrated unusual accomplishments in pioneering new and developing fields of technology. It is one of the highest professional distinctions an engineer can achieve.
Colwell was Intel's chief IA32 microprocessor architect from 1992-2000, and managed the IA32 Architecture group at Intel's Hillsboro, Oregon facility through the Intel Pentium Pro (P6) and Pentium 4 projects. Last year, he won the ACM/IEEE Computer Society's Eckert-Mauchly Award, the highest honor in the field of computer architecture, "for outstanding achievements in the design and implementation of industry-changing microarchitectures, and for significant contributions to the RISC/CISC [Reduced Instruction Set Computing/Complex Instruction Set Computing] architecture debate."
Now an independent consultant, Colwell authored a new book, "The Pentium Chronicles: The People, Passion, and Politics Behind Intel's Landmark Chips" (Wiley-IEEE Computer Society Press; December 2005). He is the "Perspectives" editor for IEEE Computer Magazine and wrote the "At Random" column from 2002-2005. Having published many technical papers and journal articles, Colwell also invented or co-invented over 40 patents, and has participated in numerous panel sessions and invited talks.
Named an Intel Fellow in 1996, Colwell was previously a CPU architect at Multiflow Computer, where he assisted in pioneering Very-Long Instruction Word (VLIW) architectures. Additionally, he served as a hardware design engineer at workstation vendor Perq Systems and as a member of the technical staff at Bell Labs. Colwell holds three degrees in electrical engineering: a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon.
Along with Colwell's nomination to the NAE, five Carnegie Mellon faculty members have also been inducted; the most selected from any institution. The nominees include Pradeep Khosla, Dean of the College of Engineering, Phillip and Marsha Dowd Professor of ECE and Robotics, and Co-Director of the CyLab.