2008 Distinguished Alumnus - Department of Computer Science - Purdue University Skip to main content

2008 Distinguished Alumnus

Dr. Stewart ZwebenDr. Daniel Reed

M.S. 1980, Ph.D. 1983, Computer Science

Daniel A. Reed is Microsoft’s Scalable and Multicore Computing Strategist, responsible for re-envisioning the data center of the future and coordinating Microsoft’s external multicore research program. Previously, he was the Chancellor’s Eminent Professor at UNC Chapel Hill, as well as the Director of the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) and the Chancellor’s Senior Advisor for Strategy and Innovation for UNC Chapel Hill. Dr. Reed is a member of President Bush’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and a former member of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC).

He recently chaired a review of the federal networking and IT research portfolio for PCAST, and he is chair of the board of directors of the Computing Research Association. He was previously Gutgsell Professor and Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He has also been Director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at UIUC, where he also led National Computational Science Alliance. He was also one of the principal investigators and chief architect for the NSF TeraGrid. He received his PhD in computer science in 1983 from Purdue University.

Personal Reflections on Computing
I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. – Henry David Thoreau

As researchers and as members of society, we are poised on the brink of something truly amazing. The computing systems we are now building bring to life models of breathtaking complexity and realism, unraveling mysteries as old as humanity. My friends prototype more fuel-efficient engines and safer aircraft. Others plumb the depths of biology to create computational models of living cells, organs, and organisms. Still others seek a unified theory of the universe's physical forces--something Einstein chased, without success, for three decades.

This talk will reflect on the nature of the computing revolution and some challenges ahead, including the importance of curiosity, passion, education and inclusion in a knowledge-driven society. I will also reflect on some lessons learned from a twenty-five career in computing. I am more fortunate than most, for reality has exceeded my dreams. I was a poor boy from rural Arkansas, for whom a Purdue education and research preparation led to experiences unexpected in common hours. Dreams do sometimes come true.

Last Updated: Mar 16, 2017 4:46 PM

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