Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Robert Dennard, IBM Fellow

Robert Dennard, IBM Fellow; Photo credit: WikiMedia Commons

IBM Research scientist Robert Dennard, who at age 80 still comes to work at the lab nearly every day, has been awarded the Kyoto Prize—one of the world’s most prestigious recognitions for personal achievement. He will receive the Advanced Technology Prize in Electronics at a November ceremony in Japan.

Dennard, an IBM Fellow, is best known for inventing the memory chip in 1967. The simplicity, low cost and low power consumption of his invention, dynamic random access memory (DRAM), opened the door to the personal computer. Today, memory chips are used in every PC, laptop computer, game console and mobile communications device.

“I knew it was going to be a big thing, but I didn’t know it would grow to have the wide impact it has today,” Dennard said in an earlier interview. He was awakened at 1:48 a.m. today by a call from Japan informing him he had won the prize. “I’m feeling quite elated,” he declared a few hours later.

In addition to DRAM, Dennard also pioneered the theory of device scaling—figuring out how to shrink microcircuits in every dimension. He and his team laid out the technical requirements for making memory chips smaller and faster, principles that were also applied to processor chips. Those rules provided a recipe that chip designers have followed ever since. Today, thanks to Dennard’s insights and much innovation by generations of scientists, billions of transistors can now be placed on a single chip.

Electronics industry pioneer Gordon Moore is famous for predicting in the 1960s that the density of microcircuits would double every two years—a pronouncement that has since been codified at Moore’s law. The work on scaling that Dennard launched has enabled Moore’s Law to hold for decades.

“For a guy to produce one of these two breakthroughs is extraordinary,” said Bernard Meyerson, IBM’s vice president for innovation. “Two from one guy is ridiculous.”

IBM Research Senior Vice President John E. Kelly III congratulated Dennard, and said he’s an exemplar of one of IBM’s core values–producing innovation that matters for IBM and society. “Bob is the consummate Wild Duck” he said. Kelly was referring to IBM’s tradition of encouraging scientists and engineers to try out unorthodox ideas and approaches to solving problems.

Sometimes the Wild Ducks really go it alone. That was true for the DRAM. The idea underlying his invention came to Dennard in 1966, when he was sitting on a living room couch in his Westchester County home. Earlier in the day at the IBM Research lab in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., he had listened to another research team discuss improvements they planned for magnetic core memory, a technology that was used in mainframe computers. He was impressed with the simplicity of their design. His approach for is his own project, designing memory technologies for metal-oxide semiconductors, was quite complex—using six transistors for each bit of information.

On the spot, he came up with a technique for using a single transistor for each bit of data. He drew sketches on a pad of paper to help him visualize how it would work. That was the breakthrough idea that paved the way to the invention of DRAM. He developed it further in his spare time while working on other “official” projects. The patent was issued in 1968.

But Dennard said he didn’t usually work by himself. “I’m not really a Wild Duck. Most of my work was done with teams of guys, which is really the most powerful way of solving problems,” he said. “You want to have groups of people with different kinds of knowledge, working together and sharing ideas.”

These days, Dennard is working on ways to improve today’s primary chip technology, Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductors, or CMOS. Because of the limitations of classical physics, chip designers are hard-pressed to achieve the kind of overall performance gains that were possible in the past. The problem, he said, is power consumption. Today’s chips consume too much electricity and throw off too much heat. So he’s working on new approaches to architecting chips- using extra-thin layers of silicon. “When you’re building the last generation of a technology, you want it to be the best,” he said.

Dennard received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Institute of Technology—now Carnegie Mellon University. He credited CMU with training him to approach complex problems in a systematic way.

One of his early jobs was at a Texas electrical utility, and he remains interested in energy issues all these years later. He’s concerned about society’s dependency on fossil fuels–and the effect on the climate. “We’re not only burning ourselves up; we’ll run out of the fuel to do it.” Dennard is enthusiastic about the potential of wind and solar power. And he figures he’s doing his part for the environment by trying to decrease the energy consumption of chips.

He has received many other awards during his long career, including the U.S. National Medal of Technology, in 1988, for his invention of the DRAM, and the Charles Stark Draper Prize from the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. The Kyoto Prize is presented by the Inamori Foundation, and was first awarded in 1985.

Bookmark and Share

Previous post

Next post

June 10, 2016
12:20 am

Very motivating story

Posted by: Geoffrey
May 23, 2016
4:47 am

Grateful for all your help and wishing each one of you the achievement in your business. fat diminisher system free ebook download

Posted by: celen
May 14, 2016
4:38 am

It’s better than average to see that a couple of people still perceive how to make a quality post ! click here

Posted by: celen
April 28, 2016
4:15 am

I did a chase on the subject and found all persons will agree with your blog.Thanks for offering this captivating website to us. Quelle Est La Meilleure Centrale vapeur

Posted by: celen
April 27, 2016
4:36 pm

I urge this is the vital spot where I discover issues I’ve been pursuing down. You have a smart yet captivating framework for writing. the fat diminisher scam

Posted by: celen
April 20, 2016
3:50 am

Once more, incredible weblog ! This is a stunning post in a charming line of content. boutique

Posted by: celen
April 3, 2016
10:30 am

.This is just the information I am finding all around. A guarantee of appreciation is all together for your site

Posted by: celen
April 1, 2016
4:14 pm

I think the work that they are doing here is so unfathomable. You will be able to great position such an extraordinary total from the work here. Meilleur Pave Numerique

Posted by: celen
March 28, 2016
10:14 am

You will locate a noteworthy measure of systems resulting to embarking to your post. Awe-inspiring work. Meilleure Phablette

Posted by: celen
March 23, 2016
8:47 am

I in all likelihood in regards to each and every bit of it. It is a psyche boggling site and superior to anything customary gift. how does imodium work

Posted by: celen
March 23, 2016
3:58 am

I admonish this is the crucial spot where I discover issues I’ve been pursuing down.Nous Testons

Posted by: celen
March 19, 2016
5:58 am

I understand something harder on specific web diaries normal. I absolutely getting a charge out of every single bit of it. Nous Testons

Posted by: celen
September 12, 2015
10:38 am

I’m impressed, I must say. Genuinely rarely should i encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you may have hit the nail within the head. Your notion is outstanding; the thing is an issue that too little individuals are speaking intelligently about. I will be very happy which i came across this during my try to find some thing in regards to this.

Posted by: wudang tai chi
August 6, 2015
10:49 pm

congratulations, hard work never betrayed

Posted by: hellofgames
September 12, 2014
11:38 pm

A small alteration to your appearance can have a massive effect on the overall
quality of your life. The face lift surgical procedure engages
in tightening of the facial and neck muscles.

Breast reconstruction, for those who have undergone a
mastectomy, as well as cleft lip and palate surgery are
common examples of reconstructive surgeries.

Posted by: nose job boston
September 8, 2014
4:14 am

Hi, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
When I look at your blog site in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet
Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
Other then that, superb blog!

Posted by: free coupon sites
August 30, 2014
7:29 am

You need to get your boxes early but be aware that even flat
they take up a lot of space. As your relationship continues
into a long term relationship, narcissists will start to make veiled threats, with
statements like: “my relationships have never lasted more than two or three years. If you decide to pack them yourself, you can find an array of supplies to help you pack.

Posted by: palmer moving and storage jobs
July 25, 2014
11:46 pm

Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely
well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information.
Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.

Posted by: more nutrition information
July 25, 2014
11:35 pm

Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was
extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what
I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.
Do you have any tips and hints for inexperienced
blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

Posted by: useful nutritional information
June 17, 2014
10:37 am

An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you
should publisah more on this issue, it might not be a taboo matter but typically folks don’t
speak about these topics. To the next! Many thanks!!

Posted by: Latrice
June 14, 2014
4:35 pm

Hi there! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against
hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any suggestions?

Posted by: Kai
August 6, 2013
3:27 am

Congratulations!you are really a big achieved.

Posted by: Avinash Yadav
August 3, 2013
9:15 am

I simply needed to thank you so much again. I do not know the things I would have implemented without the entire opinions documented by you concerning that theme. It has been a difficult matter in my circumstances, nevertheless understanding your skilled form you processed the issue made me to leap with fulfillment. I am happier for the advice and even trust you find out what a great job you were carrying out instructing the rest thru your site. I’m certain you haven’t come across all of us.

Posted by: Casual Dresses
July 29, 2013
6:56 am

This website can be a stroll-by way of for the entire data you wished about this and didn�t know who to ask. Glimpse right here, and also you�ll positively uncover it.

Posted by: Tomas Alligood
July 25, 2013
3:05 am

Aw, this was a very nice post. In concept I want to put in writing like this moreover � taking time and precise effort to make an excellent article however what can I say I procrastinate alot and on no account appear to get one thing done.

Posted by: Pamila Baugh
July 23, 2013
5:45 am

I used to be more than happy to search out this internet-site.I wished to thanks on your time for this glorious learn!! I positively having fun with each little little bit of it and I’ve you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you weblog post.

Posted by: Estrella Amesquieto
July 9, 2013
2:33 pm

Congrats on your award love yall tell Jane I said hi

Posted by: Sabrina Westfall
July 9, 2013
11:34 am

Congratulations Cousin Robert. I’m proud to be in the same family. I’m impressed that you are still going to work at 80. Hang in there.

Posted by: Betty Holland Hughes
July 4, 2013
1:26 pm

Congratulations to the best man at my wedding except Les.

Posted by: Roberta Hale
July 1, 2013
11:50 pm

Congratulations Robert. You are a fountain of inspiration.

Posted by: Thulasiram Gopalakrishna
June 28, 2013
9:06 am

Really an Inspiration…

Posted by: Ali
June 28, 2013
8:46 am

Robert, Congratulations…What an enormous invention ,achievement and tremendous contribution to the chip making world

Posted by: Geetha Parlapalli
June 28, 2013
6:44 am

Congratulations – so proud and so delighted!

Posted by: Anna W. Topol
June 27, 2013
7:28 am

Award is just a token of appreciation. World has seen the sea change due to your invention and thought process. Thanks for making the world better.

Posted by: Hariprasad
June 26, 2013
3:28 pm

Oh, Robert, what a joy and honor it is to be your cousin. I join David in his thinking that your brother and sisters, who always rejoiced in your successes, are smiling. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the smartest cousin of them all?” Lu who? Jim joins me in congratulating you. Carolina peaches…Southern gold….are on their way to celebrate. Shipping date, July 15.

Posted by: Alma Lucille Dennard Buck
June 25, 2013
1:36 pm

Dear Mr. Dennard,

Every day of my IBM career I have been involved with DRAM memory and for years have lead memory development within System x. I have a deep appreciation for the tremendous value of your contribution. I offer my sincere praise for what you accomplished.

I will retire at the end of this year. If at some point you choose to do the same and if you can’t find anyone to speak memory to, just give me a call. I still am capable of learning.

Posted by: Jim Foster
June 25, 2013
1:17 pm

Congratulations Robert, much deserved recognition. And many thanks for your inventions.

Posted by: Camilo Pineda
June 25, 2013
12:18 pm

Very inspiring and especially this paragraph.

“He’s concerned about society’s dependency on fossil fuels–and the effect on the climate. “We’re not only burning ourselves up; we’ll run out of the fuel to do it.” Dennard is enthusiastic about the potential of wind and solar power. And he figures he’s doing his part for the environment by trying to decrease the energy consumption of chips”

Posted by: Jitendranath Palem
June 25, 2013
11:21 am


Posted by: Andrea
June 25, 2013
10:31 am


June 25, 2013
9:15 am

You changed the world man.

Posted by: Waleed
June 25, 2013
7:35 am

Congratulations Robert!!!
what a great contribution to the entire world and good to know about inventions.

Posted by: Manoj R Tiwari
June 25, 2013
7:29 am

Congratulations Mr.Dennard!! An inspirational feat !!

Posted by: Rajasekhar Ghanta
June 25, 2013
6:25 am

Congratulations! Robert, you are an inspiration.

Posted by: Phumlani Nhlapo
June 25, 2013
6:14 am

Cogratulations Sir…

Posted by: Raj Patwal
June 25, 2013
4:19 am

Congratulations! Your contributions deserve it. keep thinking and dancing!

Posted by: Ivan Wen
June 25, 2013
4:07 am

Hearty Congratulations!!!

Posted by: Prarthana
June 25, 2013
2:24 am

Very Hearty Congratulation Robert.
Proud Moment for us.

Posted by: Rukhsar Ahmad
June 25, 2013
1:32 am


Posted by: Rena
June 24, 2013
11:57 pm

A well deserved recognition which has taken time to come. Great to see his spirits being up even to this day — coming into office. Makes one so proud to be an IBM’er. May your tribe increase

Posted by: Shivaraj Iyer
June 24, 2013
10:20 pm

Wild Duck lives forever! Congratulation Sir Robert, is really a honer to try and perhaps to be an IBMer as you.

Posted by: Felipe Campos
June 24, 2013
4:01 pm

good job

Posted by: oscar eduardo
June 24, 2013
3:55 pm

Congratulations Mr Dennard! It is on the imaginations of such great minds like yours that IBM has built its reputation as a truly innovative company – well done sir, well done!

Posted by: Betty Francis
June 24, 2013
3:49 pm

Congratulations Robert! Fabulous news!

Posted by: Lauren States
June 24, 2013
1:24 pm

Congratulations on the monumental achievement! A proud moment for all of us IBMers.

Posted by: Rupam Bhattacharjee
June 24, 2013
1:23 pm

Congratulations Bob. I am so proud to have worked with you on the IBM Academy Study, “Self Correcting Circuits for Robust Design” a few years ago. You are a truly great resource to the electrical engineering community.

Posted by: Clay Cranford
June 24, 2013
1:09 pm

Congratulations! I didn’t realize the memory chip we use everyday was invented by IBMer, so proud and this is a well deserved award!

Posted by: Tianhang Hu
June 24, 2013
11:10 am

How exciting, congratulations!

Posted by: akoeste
June 24, 2013
11:03 am


Posted by: Javier Soto
June 24, 2013
11:01 am

Well done Mr. Dennard!!, is an big honor works at the same company

Posted by: Esteban Araya Magna
June 24, 2013
10:22 am

Congratulations Robert Dennard!! Proud to be associated as IBMer with you!!

Posted by: Anil Kumar
June 24, 2013
9:06 am

A wonderful recognition for inventions that have changed the world – congratulations! DRAMs also gave me many years of exciting supply chain work and allowed me to travel the world – so thank you!!!

Posted by: Jennie Lemire
June 24, 2013
9:06 am

Congratulations, Robert. Amazing talent. I am in awe of your intellect, energy and passion for innovation and engineering. IBM has been impactful in R&D in the technical market for more than 50 years because of their recognition of and investment in brain power such as yours. It still holds true today when I am selling IBM to the public. Here is where IBM really shines, with people like Robert Dennard.

Posted by: Lisa Bays
June 24, 2013
8:19 am

Big Big Congrats sir ..Its really inspires us to be like you …

Posted by: Mahesh
June 24, 2013
8:16 am

Congratulation Sir, for such an important invention and the award !!

Posted by: Sanjay Amle
June 24, 2013
7:41 am

Congratulations Sir! It is inspiring to work in the same company of such mentor!

Posted by: Danilo Leal
June 24, 2013
6:13 am

Congratulations sir .. what an achievement.. coming to office at an age of 80 ?? wow.. !! You have proved that age is just a number which is mind over matter, if you don’t mind – it doesn’t matter !!

Posted by: Devang
June 24, 2013
4:46 am

Awesome …and very inspiring .. Congratulations Sir… many more milestones to come ..

Posted by: Pankaj Kumar
June 24, 2013
4:22 am

Congratulations Robert!!!

Posted by: Suresh Jagtap
June 24, 2013
4:06 am

Congratulations!!! A true Hero!!

Posted by: Mary
June 24, 2013
2:45 am

Congratulation …proud feeling that one of the IBM’r has got this…Wish you a good health and expect some more milestones.

Posted by: Prashant Dhakane
June 24, 2013
2:06 am

Our heartfelt wishes to you Bob. I never thought that I’ve live to hear about the inventor of DRAM.. an invention we as “electronic technicians” have been sketching & imagining.. I never thought I’d be working in the same company with Mr. Dennard too. our deepest, deepest gratitude for your invention sir and to IBM who made all the inventions of smart people like Bob into sensible use

Posted by: Arnold Burdeos
June 24, 2013
1:53 am

Congratulations Sir. Very inspiring !

Posted by: Arun Kumar
June 24, 2013
1:45 am

Congratulations!!! A true Hero!!

Posted by: Sanjay
June 24, 2013
1:16 am

Congratulation Sir….

Posted by: Vishwa
June 23, 2013
11:51 pm

Congratulations Robert!!

Posted by: Mukesh Verma
June 23, 2013
11:30 pm


Posted by: gaoxiao
June 23, 2013
11:08 pm

Many many congrats !!

I feel great to be associated with such and innovative orgranisation with intelligent people.

Posted by: Vishal
June 23, 2013
10:23 pm

Truly Amazing!!!

Posted by: Richard
June 23, 2013
9:00 pm

Congratulations !!!!

Posted by: Ganesh
June 23, 2013
7:43 pm

Congratulations Robert.

Posted by: Varad Rajulu
June 23, 2013
7:18 pm

Heartiest congratulations for the well deserved recognition from the prestigious Japanese institution.

Your cousin, Alma Lu Dennard Buck was my friend and classmate in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Posted by: Tom Shepherd
June 23, 2013
11:36 am

Wonderful and Congratulations. No words to express my joy.

Posted by: Atul Misra
June 23, 2013
12:48 am

Dr Rob the imprints you have created in the industry is the greatest source of inspiration to millions of inventors like me! Congratulations. Special thanks for teaching us that age is never barrier to hard work and innovations!

Posted by: Gandhi Sivakumar
June 22, 2013
6:32 pm

Bob – you continue to be a great guy even at 80. I have always been impressed with all you have done and the mark you have made on the world. The world without solid state memory today would be nowhere. Thanks for your valuable inventions – Charles Rennie McIntosh will always be a great inspiration for you.

Posted by: Freddie Moran
June 22, 2013
9:54 am


Posted by: Victor
June 22, 2013
8:53 am

This is absolutely amazing invention. Thank you for your invention.

Posted by: Shafaat Ahmed
June 22, 2013
5:41 am

Congratulations! Rob. Great achievement, great inspiration to all of us..

Posted by: Soma
June 22, 2013
4:52 am

We are thrilled and so glad you continue to receive deserved recognition! We are so fortunate to know you as a brilliant mentor, teacher, uncle, and brother! Lots of love!

Posted by: Sarah Salwen and Sarah Bridges
June 22, 2013
3:55 am

Congratulations is a small word for big innovation.
If you are near to me , I can give a salute to your greater efforts and achivements .
I wish you to get many more prizes and Awards like this for your Marathon innings .

Please consider this message as my Hug.

Posted by: Viswanadh
June 22, 2013
2:40 am

Motivating and very impressive.Congratulations Dr. Dennard.

Posted by: Sambath
June 22, 2013
1:08 am

Dear Roberto,
Truely inspired. This makes IBM the greatest company ever because of the great inventors like you. Thanks for being there to inspire us.


Posted by: Arnab
June 22, 2013
1:07 am

I think it is so wonderful, and he is so great peopel. In China, people at Age 65 will retire for relex, but in other countries, many people is still working and try to research and invent.
It will be a big distance.

Posted by: nina
June 22, 2013
12:41 am

WOW! Congratulations! Proud to be IBMer!

Posted by: Nishant Kulkarni
June 21, 2013
10:17 pm

Dear Bob,

Kyoto Prize gets more prestigious with it being presented to coveted pathbreakers like you. I am truly inspired by your contribution and the humility even at this high pedestal of achievement.

May almighty grace you with much more of these recognition and keep you in high spirits for a long time.



Posted by: Anil
June 21, 2013
6:21 pm

Dear Bob!

Wow, you remain a wonderful inspiration for the young and the mature like me. It has been an honor to have known you for those many years at IBM.

Best wishes to many more ideas and honors.


Posted by: Thor A. Larsen
June 21, 2013
6:06 pm

Congratulations Roberto !…what a great contribution to the world.

Posted by: Jose Luis Altuve @Austin
June 21, 2013
5:08 pm

Congratulations Robert!!! Your really deserve it!!!

Posted by: Márcio Luiz
June 21, 2013
4:01 pm

Congratulations Bob! – it’s really been an honor knowing and working with you.

Posted by: Arvind Kumar
June 21, 2013
3:33 pm

Wow. Very few people can claim to have invented a cornerstone of modern technology…let alone TWO! I bow to your technical greatness! :)

Posted by: Mike Wellens
June 21, 2013
2:59 pm

What you have accomplished is absolutely amazing. Thank you for your contributions and congratulations on receiving the Kyoto award.

Posted by: David Bradley
June 21, 2013
2:28 pm

Congrats Robert! Well Done

Posted by: Suzanne Das
June 21, 2013
2:14 pm

Congratulations! Your discoveries were of historical importance but not just for the “things” they could miniaturize, but for the social good that has be achieved by using those devices. Think about the lives that have been saved because of your work.

Posted by: Chris Gluchoski
June 21, 2013
1:52 pm

Big Congratulations! I know you love to dance so this honor must have inspired you to hit the dance floor – have fun and never stop dancing!

Posted by: Dorian D'Ausliio
4 Trackbacks
April 18, 2016
7:23 pm

[…] IBM Fellows, who include a Kyoto Prize winner and five Nobel Prize winners, have fostered some of business and society’s most […]

Posted by: IBM Honors 11 New Fellows for Outstanding Work in Cognitive, Cloud, Security and Healthcare
May 15, 2014
2:00 pm

[…] scientists succeed at IBM Research, they tend to stay. Robert Dennard, the inventor of the DRAM, for instance, had been at IBM for 56 years when he retired earlier this […]

Posted by: IBM Research's Jamie Garcia and Her Fantastic Plastic « A Smarter Planet Blog A Smarter Planet Blog
May 1, 2014
4:51 pm

[…] and IBM Fellow. The title of IBM Fellow is not won easily. They are a group that includes a Kyoto Prize winner and five Nobel Prize winners, they have fostered some of the IBM company’s most stunning […]

Posted by: Avoiding the Legacy of the Future | Software Architecture Zen
April 2, 2014
9:53 am

[…] that on this day when new IBM Fellows are being recognized, the company’s most senior Fellow, Robert Dennard, who became one 35 years ago, is retiring at age 81. Bob is famous in tech circles for his invention […]

Posted by: IBM Fellows: Transforming Computing, Society and IBM « A Smarter Planet Blog A Smarter Planet Blog
Post a Comment