CITRIS researcher Eric Brewer, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at the
University of California, Berkeley, is the 2009 recipient of the ACM-Infosys
Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences, a prestigious honor that comes with
a $150,000 prize.
Announced on Monday, March 15 by the Association for Computing Machinery
(ACM), the award recognizes Brewer’s achievements in developing highly scalable
Web technologies that underpin all major Internet services.
ACM cited Brewer’s groundbreaking work in operating systems and networking
for laying the foundation for today’s giant data centers that make possible
search, email, social networks and other Internet services, as well as cloud
It was in the early 1990s that Brewer built a prototype at UC Berkeley of a
highly scalable, cost-effective Web search service using clusters of computers.
Brewer and UC Berkeley graduate student Paul Gauthier went on to form Inktomi
Corp., purchased by Yahoo! in 2003, based upon this prototype.
“It has been a remarkable 15-year journey that started with four PCs
pretending to be a supercomputer, to 100- and 1000-node clusters that enabled
searching the Internet, to the million-node ‘clouds’ whose revolutionary impact
is largely yet to come,” said Brewer.
The ACM-Infosys Foundation Award, established in August 2007, recognizes
personal contributions by young scientists and system developers to a
contemporary innovation that exemplifies the greatest recent achievements in the
“Professor Brewer’s influential work on scalable Web services has defined the
basic architecture that is used by almost all systems, and marks him as a
visionary with the potential to advance society on numerous social and economic
levels,” said ACM President Dame Wendy Hall.
Brewer has directed his recent research on serving tens of thousands of
people in developing countries with information systems that deliver health
care, energy and other local resources. This work is often conducted through the
Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions project, headed by Brewer and
sponsored by UC Berkeley's Center for Information Technology Research in the
Interest of Society.