Alumnus Dobberpuhl receives College of Engineering Alumni Honor Award
By Tom Moone, ECE ILLINOIS
May 20, 2009
- Alumni Dan Dobberpuhl recieved the Alumni Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering.
- Dobberpuhl graduated with a B.S. in EE in 1967.
- Dobberpuhl was recognized for his contributiosn to the semiconductor industry and P.A. Semi, which he co-founded in 2003.
“Coming to the University was a revelation to me,” said Dan Dobberpuhl (BSEE ’67). “It opened up a whole new world of things.”
Dobberpuhl, who came to Illinois from the small town of Streator, Illinois, then used his University experiences to open a whole new world in semiconductor chip design. In recognition of his achievements he received the Alumni Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering from the College of Engineering during the Student and Alumni Honor Awards Convocation held May 1.
Following his graduation from Illinois in 1967, Dobberpuhl spent four years as a civilian engineer with the Department of Defense. In 1973 he joined the GE Integrated Circuits Lab in Syracuse, New York, where he developed application-specific integrated circuits for various GE business units.
In 1976 he joined the Semiconductor Engineering Group at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in Hudson, Massachusetts. He was eventually responsible for a number of key microprocessor designs, including MicroVAX-II, the first single chip VAX, and the first three ALPHA CPUs. He started DEC’s Palo Alto Design Center in 1993 where he led the development of the StrongARM. “I think the two things that influenced my career the most were the time I was at the University and the opportunities I had at Digital Equipment Corporation,” said Dobberpuhl “I went from doing interesting engineering on a sort of industrial scale to world-class engineering at DEC on a global scale.”
Building on the world-class engineering he had started doing at DEC, Dobberpuhl co-founded SiByte, Inc., in 1998 as its president and CEO. He led the development of the SB1250 chip, a high performance, coherent 64-bit multiprocessor CPU with high-speed input/output, integrated multilevel caches, and 128-bit high-performance DDR memory controller. “The timing was very good,” said Dobberpuhl, because SiByte was able to ride high on the fast-moving wave of growth in the Internet industry. SiByte was acquired by Broadcom Corporation in December 2000.
Dobberpuhl co-founded P.A. Semi In 2003. A fables semiconductor company, P.A. Semi developed the high-performance and low-power PWRficient processor family, which is based on Power Architecture technology. In June 2008, P.A. Semi was acquired by Apple.
Dobberpuhl sees the College of Engineering as continuing to be a leading educator of the future leaders in engineering. The awards ceremony held May 1 combined alumni and student awards, and Dobberpuhl said, “I was extremely impressed with the students that were given awards. Their achievements were incredible. It is a great testament to the University that it is continuing to provide superior undergraduate opportunities.”
In addition to this College of Engineering award, Dobberpuhl’s achievements have earned him a number of other distinctions. In 2003, Dobberpuhl received the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Technical Field Award, as well as the Distinguished Alumni Award from the ECE Department. He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering in 2006 for “the innovative design and implementation of high-performance, low-power microprocessors.”
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