Sunday, May 8, 2016

UCB's Dr. Dave Patterson's Retirement Weekend - 40 Years of Patterson

Sometimes in life you have one of those amazing weekends that you really never want to end. I flew in Thursday to have dinner with my oldest son John and our daughter-in-law Janet near their home in the Mission District of San Francisco and it just went up from there.  It was a great time as always with both of them.

While it is always nice seeing John and Janet, the main reason I flew out to the west coast was that I had the true honor and privilege of being invited to Dr. Dave Patterson's retirement party in Berkeley this past Friday and Saturday.  This was a multiple day, multiple event celebration of Dave's amazing career with an absolute who's who of the computer industry and was called "40 Years of Patterson"

I would not have missed this weekend for the world.

Above is Dave speaking Friday afternoon before he would give his final "My Last Lecture: How To Be a Bad Professor" talk.

This is from the Abstract: "The premise of a last lecture, which is a tradition at some universities, is that if this were the last public lecture you would give, what would you say? In the hope of starting that tradition here—in my actual final Berkeley lecture before I retire in June—I will give the fourth and final edition of my bad advice talks. (The prior three were “How to Give a Bad Talk,” “How to Have a Bad Research Career,” and “How to Build a Bad Research Center.”)"

Dave was brilliant and hilarious at the same time.

This is also from Dave's abstract:  "The first part of the talk will be a tongue-in-cheek advice at how to be awful at all the responsibilities of professorship: research, classroom teaching, graduate student advising, service to the field, and service to the campus and community. Guidelines include: (Research) Papers are the Coin of the Academic Realm (Classroom) PowerPoint Replaces Preparation (Grad Students) It’s Quantity, Not Quality (Service to the Field) Serve only if a big Fame Ratio: Name Recognition Increase / Hours Invested (Service to the Campus and Community) Don’t Do It! The second part of the talk will offer advice on alternatives to being a terrible professor. As I’ve got nothing left to hide, I’ll use tell-all examples from my four decades at Berkeley.

After a question and answer session, I’ll tell my story of how I accidentally became a CS grad student and a Berkeley professor, and life lessons that I wish someone had told me 40 years ago that I’ll pass along now."

Above is Dave and I had the Friday night reception after his last lecture.

I had a chance to speak with Dave's wife Linda as well and we discussed spending time together at Lake Las Vegas in 2006 when Dave and I gave back to back keynotes that laid the foundation for MTConnect.  Julie and I went with Linda to see "O" by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas the night that Dave was getting in late.  We had a great time and she said that is still one of her favorite shows.

My first interaction with Dave goes back 16 years when I was running the future track for a Sun SE Symposium. Sun was doing great in 2000 and I basically had unlimited budget, so I created my computer science dream team and called each of them up to come and speak.

Number one on my list was Dave Patterson.  I knew of Dave Patterson and also knew he was Sun Microsystems first consultant and the professor to Sun's co-founder Bill Joy (among others). So, I emailed Dave and he replied back quickly and wanted to speak on the phone.  After speaking on the phone, Dave wanted to meet to discuss the specifics of the conference and exactly what we wanted to accomplish by his talk.  Just having dinner with Dave Patterson would have been enough for me!  We did have dinner in the bay area and he was interested and said he would like to think about overnight and then we could meet for lunch to hopefully sign the papers and he would let me know his decision.  On the way to my hotel room that night, I thought about Dave's comment to me that he really liked my Sun Microsystems Java leather jacket, so before our lunch, I raced to Sun, plopped down my Sun AMEX and purchased a $400 Sun Microsystems Java leather jacket.  When I met Dave, I gave him the jacket right away to thank him for considering giving a keynote at the SE Symposium.

I think the Java leather jacket was a small contributing factor in getting Dave to agree to speak and he, of course, did a great job and we gave away lots of copies of he and John Hennessy's seminal Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach.

Five years later, Dave was speaking to the Fellows, Distinguished Engineers and Chief Technologists at Sun.  After Dave's talk it was Q&A.  I walked up to the microphone and before I could introduce myself, Dave very enthusiastically says, "hey Dave, good to see you again, I still wear that Java jacket you bought me years ago".  Needless to say, my stock with the other technical leaders at Sun popped up a few points that day :-)

In 2006 Dave and I worked first worked together to create MTConnect and then continued to work together on the standard.

It was great seeing the old Sun gang.  To my left is Dr. Bob Sproull a legendary computer scientist who was at Sun for 21 years and next to Bob is the world famous John Gage - known as the fifth Sun founder - the person who coined the term, "The Network Is The Computer" and created "Net Day" where John convinced President Bill Clinton and VP Al Gore to wire classrooms across the country for Internet access.

I also had a chance to speak with Dr. Marc Tremblay - who was a Sun Fellow and microprocessor god at Sun.  Dr. Dave Ditzel, formerly of Sun, was also there for all of the sessions.   I also spent some time talking with David Douglas, formerly of Sun who ran out cloud computing.

Above is the cover of the 40 Years of Patterson Book that was give out to each of the attendees.

Above is Dave's signature on the inside cover of my copy of the 40 Years of Patterson Book.

Above is the poster for RAID which Dave was one of the co-creators of with Dr. Randy Katz and Dr. Garth Gibson.  Randy and Garth were at all of the events this past weekend as well.

Dave's three most famous contributions to the computer industry, not including the numerous students who went on to do great things such as Bill Joy, Sun co-founder and Eric Schmidt, Sun's first CTO and later Google CEO, were RAID, RISC and NOW.  RAID is used everyplace for storage these days.  RISC is the default design for leading microprocessors - such as the ARM processor that is in all of our smartphones for example.  NOW later became cloud computing.  What a legacy!!

Above is the sign to the Saturday All Day Symposium of thought leaders presenting on the future of computing.  

It was also very interesting because I shot a text to long-time friend, mentor and computer legend Neil Groundwater about the day's events.  Neil was invited but could not attend in person, but did watch a large part of it that was being streamed live over the Internet.  We exchanged text messages and Neil educated me on different questions and statements that had deep historical meaning.  

A few  examples were a person stands up and identifies himself as just "John" and Neil quickly texts me and says, "John Mashey was the grad student/coach in my assembler language class at Penn State. Also know him thru USENIX and Bell Labs.."  Another example was a reference to something I was completely clueless about.  I thought the questioner referred to Ernie Kovacs who I remember from my parents, but it was as Neil pointed out, "“Ernie CoVAX” was the name of a VAX/UNIX system at UCB in the EECS dept."

Above is Dr. John Ousterhout of Stanford presenting a very interesting talk, "Can Great Programmers Be Taught?"  I asked John a question later when we were talking on whether the first language should be a low level assembler type or a higher level object oriented language.  I told him that I felt my brain was wired too low because I have a tendency to think of low level assembler and that is not really that helpful in the world of modern frameworks.  John's answer to me was that he felt C or Java would be a good first language.

Above is Dr. Randy Katz discussing the first time he worked with Dave and noting that "Dave Patterson likes to say that Bill Joy, Eric Schmidt and Randy Katz are together, Randy really brings down the average net worth of the the three of them." :-)

Randy went on to present on Cyber-Physical Security which I found interesting as I just presented on this topic a few weeks ago with Cisco at the [MC]2 2016 Conference.

Above was the view from the International House at UCB as we were heading to dinner after the 8am to 6pm day of amazing speakers.

Above on the left is Ed Kelly (former Sun Distinguished Engineer who developed the first SPARC computer, Sun-4 systems architect, MBus systems architect, SPARC-64), Dr. Bob Gardner in the middle (former Sun employee and father of SPARC - Lead instruction set architect of first SPARC microprocessor and hardware co-designer of the Sun-4/200 workstation, the first SPARC system, in the Advanced Development group (SunLab's precussor), defined key aspects of 64-bit SPARC and co-sponsored SPEC consortium. Manged the I/O ASIC design group (of 7) for the SPARC-Center-2000 "Dragon" high-performance server.) and me.

I sat at the table with Ed, Bob and Bob Sproull and we had a great time reminiscing at the Saturday night Dave Patterson dinner at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley.

Bob told me that he designed 1/2 of the 4/280 and Ed designed the other half.  They told great stories about Bill Joy asking for impossible things and they would have to bring in Dave Patterson to knock some sense into Bill :-)

Saturday night about 9:45pm, Dave walked up to me and I thanked him for everything and we briefly talked about MTConnect.  I told him that both Boeing and GE have standardized on MTConnect, which he thought was very cool.  I also told Dave that Smart Manufacturing Magazine recently named the 30 top visionaries in manufacturing with Jeff Immelt of GE, Carl Bass of Autodesk being on the list and that he and I both made it as well for our work on MTConnect.  Dave did not know that and I said mailed him a physical copy of the magazine that he should be getting soon.

I wished him and Linda the absolute best in retirement.

Dr. Armando Fox said it best when he said to me 10 years ago, "Dave Patterson is the person we all want to grow up to be someday."  I could not have said it any better myself Armando....

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