Carnegie Mellon University
August 08, 2011

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon's Onur Mutlu Wins IEEE Computer Society's Young Computer Architect Award

The Engineering Professor is Recognized for his Innovative Research into Computer Systems

Contact: Chriss Swaney / 412-268-5776 /

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Onur Mutlu has received the prestigious 2011 Young Computer Architecture MutluAward from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society's Technical Committee on Computer Architecture.

This is the first year for the award, which recognizes outstanding research and educational contributions in the field of computer architecture by an individual who has received his Ph.D. within six years of his nomination.

"This is a great honor for me as I, along with my students and collaborators, research new future computer systems that are fundamentally more capable, efficient, resilient and economical," said Mutlu, an assistant professor in CMU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). "Many difficult problems in science, medicine, and technology require a large amount of computational power, which cannot be supplied efficiently by today's computers. If we are to continue breakthroughs in these areas and enable many new applications we have not yet conceived of, then we should continue improving the efficiency, performance, and robustness of computing platforms, which is what my group is researching."

"We are extremely pleased with this inaugural recognition for such an innovative and talented researcher as Professor Mutlu," said Ed Schlesinger, the Schramm Professor and head of Carnegie Mellon's top-ranked ECE Department. "Mutlu is pioneering development of the systems that will ensure that computers will advance to new levels of performance even as their cost is reduced."

Mutlu, who directs the SAFARI research group at CMU, also reports that his group is researching how to improve computer memory storage, which can add costly energy fees to a corporation's bottom line and is responsible for fast battery drain in mobile devices. His new systems employ new and emerging technologies that enable very energy-efficient operation. Mutlu's group also is developing microprocessors that are resilient to potential cybersecurity attacks by designing them to be much more robust and predictable.

"One unimportant program can hog a computer today and deny service to programs that are much more important to the user. Imagine a program; say a virus checker or some program you downloaded just for fun, slowing everything else on your mobile phone while draining your battery very fast. This would be very discomforting, yet it happens. We're designing systems that can withstand such cyber attacks, malicious or unintentional, by isolating the attacker and ensuring all important programs and the main system keeps running as fast as if the attacker did not exist, and preventing unnecessary battery drain," said Mutlu, who grew up in Istanbul, Turkey.

Mutlu's research has received several other prestigious recognitions in the past year, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. Three of his papers were selected for the IEEE Micro issue on "Top Picks from Computer Architecture Conferences of the Year," which chooses the 10-12 most novel and relevant computer architecture works each year among hundreds of published papers in the field.

Mutlu received his bachelor's degrees in computer engineering and psychology in 2000 from the University of Michigan, and a master's degree in 2002 and a Ph.D. in 2006 in computer engineering, both from the University of Texas at Austin. Before coming to Carnegie Mellon, Mutlu worked at Microsoft Research and spent summers at Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.


Pictured above is Onur Mutlu, an assistant professor in CMU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.