Carnegie Mellon Professor Randal E. Bryant Is Honored with a University Professorship
PITTSBURGH—Randal E. Bryant, President’s Professor of computer science and the newly appointed dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, has been named a University Professor, the highest academic distinction faculty members can achieve at the university.
He is one of three faculty to be named university professors this year. The others are Joel E. Tarr, Caliguiri professor of history in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, J. C. Warner professor of natural sciences in the Department of Chemistry in the Mellon College of Science.
The title is awarded on the basis of national and/or international recognition for research, artistic and literary accomplishments, as well as other scholarly activities.
Bryant has achieved wide recognition in academia and industry for developing computer-aided design tools that simulate and verify digital circuits, and for his research in symbolic manipulation and parallel computation. Last year he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for pioneering new abstractions for logic circuit simulation, especially the switch-level model for transistor circuits.
In research Bryant is best known for developing switch-level chip simulation and ordered binary decision diagrams (BDDs). His MOSSIM simulator was the first tool that could efficiently model the logical behavior of very large-scale integrated (VLSI) circuits. Intel Corp. used the program for more than a decade in developing several generations of their microprocessors. Versions of the COSMOS simulator, which Bryant developed to succeed MOSSIM, are still being used at Intel and other companies.
Binary decision diagrams are a tool that has enabled breakthroughs in the formal verification of hardware and software systems, including the widely acclaimed symbolic model checking, developed at Carnegie Mellon by graduate student Ken McMillan and his advisor, Edmund Clarke.
Bryant is also co-author of a best-selling textbook, which, for the first time, offers a core text that provides an integrated view of the hardware, software and networks that underlie computer systems. The book, “Computer Systems: A Programmer’s Perspective,” written in conjunction with SCS colleague David O’Hallaron, was published in 2002 by Prentice Hall. To date, more than 63 colleges and universities in the U.S. and another 15 abroad are using the book in their basic computer curricula.
Bryant earned a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1973. He received a doctor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981. He spent three years as an assistant professor of computer science at the California Institute of Technology before coming to Carnegie Mellon as an assistant professor in 1984. Bryant became an associate professor of computer science in 1987 and a full professor in 1990. He was named head of the Computer Science Department in 1999. He also holds a courtesy position in Carnegie Mellon’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.
Bryant is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He has received several awards from the Semiconductor Research Corp., including inventor recognition awards in 1989 and 1990, plus a technical excellence award shared with Carnegie Mellon colleagues in 1996.
He is also a co-recipient of ACM’s Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award for his contributions to the development of symbolic model checking. The Kanellakis award recognizes theoretical work in computer science that ultimately has an impact on the commercial world. Bryant received Carnegie Mellon’s Newell Medal for Research Excellence in 1998.