Bio of Robert Denard and RAM
Due to cost considerations, all but the very high-end (and very expensive) computers have utilized DRAM for main memory. Originally, these were asynchronous, synchronous interfaces have been produced with many advanced features. Though these high-performance DRAMs have been available for only a few years, it is apparent that they will soon be replaced by at least one of the protocol-based designs, such as SyncLink or the DRDRAM design from Rambus, Inc. and Intel
Robert Dennard invented one of the most significant advances in computer technology: dynamic random access memory, best known as "RAM."
Ram stands for random access memmory, memory that can be accessed or writen to randomly-- any byte or piece of memory can be used withoutaccessing the other bytes or pieces of memory. There were two basic types of RAM, dynamic RAM (DRAM) and static RAM (SRAM) DRAM needs to be refreshed thousands of times per second. SRAM does not need to be refreshed, which makes it faster. Both types of RAM are volatile--they lose their content when power is turned off. In 1970, Fairchild Corporation invented the first 256-k SRAM chip. Recently, several new types of RAM chips have been designed.
Robert Dennards invented one-transistor Dynamic Random Access Moemory (DRAM), which allowed major increases in computer memory density and decreased in cost. It became the standard of the industry for RAM and enabled the microcomputer revolution. It is now commonly used in all forms of business and personal computers.
Dennard was born in Terrell, Texas in 1932. brother, James, is a Tatum resident and whose sisters, Jessie Jo Wedgeworth and Evangeline Holland, live in Carthage, Texas. He received his BS (1954) and MS (1956) in Electrical Engineering from that state's , and in only two more years earned a PH.D. in the same field from Carnegie Technical Institute (1958). He then became a Staff Engineer in the Research Division of , where he planned to spend "a couple of years at most" learning the ropes. Forty-two years later, Dennard remains one of IBM's most honored employee-engineers.
Robert Dennard's world is one of limits -- finding them, extending them, surmounting them and, ultimately, trying to ignore them. If the subject turnd to his tennis game for example, he waxes poetic about those times when every shot is hit solidly and the ball goes precisely where he wants. "It's like not being constrained by those things we're usually constrained by," he enthuses.
By its very nature, scientific research is aimed at studying the limits of current understanding and taking things a step further. Robert Dennard's invention of one-transistor dynamic RAM (DRAM) was a core development in the launch of today's computer industry, setting the stage for development of increasingly dense and cost-effective memory that continues even today at the heart of every succeeding generation of computers. Among other Achievements, this was a milestone in a distinguished career that has brought him a host of honors and accolades, including: With coworkers he developed the concept of MOSFET scaling in 1972, which is often cited as a guiding principle for microelectronics. He has contributed numerous papers on advances in CMOS technology and on prospects and challenges of scaling that technology to very small dimensions. IEEE Cledo Brunetti Award in 1982 and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1984. receiving a National Medal of Technology, presented to him in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan, being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1997, As an inductee, Dennard joins such inventors as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Louis Pasteur, George Eastman, and Charles Goodyear. Only 134 other men and women are honored in the National Inventor's Hall of Fame. and being named an IBM Fellow. He was also elected to membership in the American Philosophical
Society in 1997.
Dennard, continuing on his path of achievement, subsequently took his work several steps farther. With coworkers he developed and verified scaling theory -- an orderly scientific approach to determining and dea e Research Division at a 1966 conference "that really discouraged me" because "they were talking about all the great things they were doing" with thin-film magnetic memory. But their simple approach to a memory element -- "a piece of magnetic material and a couple of lines passing near it" -- made him look for ways to simplify his approach which, at that point, was a complex six-transistor arrangement for storage of a single bit. After working for several months, Dennard reached the realization that a single field-effect transistor and data line could accomplish both the writing and reading of charge stored in a capacitor, and within a year IBM had been granted a patent on one of the key technologies of the computer age.
These days, Dennard could be said to have come full circle on his work, focusing his attention on how far the current silicon chips can be taken, and whether the practical limits of scaling are being approached. Noting that devices now measure as little as 1/10 of a micron (a 100:1 reduction in scale from when he began work in the field more than 30 years ago), he says that "we're getting pretty close to the physical limits, in the sense that as we continue to make them smaller, we don't get the returns in performance and lower power and density because of some fundamental limitations.
"I'm interested in finishing up this thing that I helped get started. And, as we're getting to the limits of this technology, the questions are even more interesting than they've been for a few years, because we're looking for ways around some of the problems. And there are lots of interesting possibilities that need to be evaluated." And limits to be tested.
Dr. Dennard and his wife Jane Bridges live in New Rochelle, NY. They are active participants in Scottish