In Memoriam — Michel Dubois (April 25, 1953 – July 7, 2022)

In Memoriam — Michel Dubois April 25 1953 – July | itkovian

In Memoriam – Michel Dubois (April 25, 1953 – July 7, 2022)

Prof Michel Dubois

It is with deep sadness and great regret that we inform the community of the recent passing of our dear friend and colleague, Professor Michel Dubois, a seminal leader in our field of computer architecture and parallel computing.

Michel received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and nuclear engineering from the Faculte Polytechnique de Mons (Belgium) in 1976, his master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1978, and his PhD. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1982 under the guidance of Professor Fayé Briggs. He was a Research Engineer at Thomson-CSF’s Central Research Laboratory, Orsay, France, from March 1982 to August 1984 before joining the faculty of the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC ) where he rose through the ranks as a tenured full professor, retiring in early 2022 as an emeritus professor of electrical and computer engineering.

As a promising and established computer architect even early in his career in academia, Michel’s early contributions in multiprocessor memory systems were his understanding of the need to provide software programmers with effective shared memory coherence and relaxed memory coherence models that allow for greater efficiency in maintaining memory accesses in multiprocessor computing systems, which have proven to be seminal contributions in our field. Among his many well-known works are his insights into and contributions to weak consistency, process or release consistency, lazy release consistency, and other related relaxed or delayed consistency models to efficiently support synchronization, consistency and ordering of events/accesses in shared memory multiprocessors. He also contributed to new approaches for testing multiprocessor cache consistency protocols, detecting and debugging unnecessary errors in shared-memory multiprocessors, and designing virtual address caches.

Furthering his work in high-performance parallel computing and shared memory systems, his research into the design of caches and memory systems, both in single-processor and multiprocessor applications, has resulted in more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, three book chapters and three books, and various open source design tools such as SlackSim AND Parma which have been used in industry. One of his books is the titled text Organization and design of parallel computers, co-written with Per Stenström (Chalmers University) and Murali Annavaram (USC), which has seen wide adoption and usage. Michel’s rapid prototyping engines for multiprocessors (RPM-1 and RPM-2), produced as exploratory research artifacts by large-scale funding supported by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), have paved the way for effective program computation in the design space of multiprocessor configurations, through emulation. The goal of this project was to demonstrate a new cost-effective testbed methodology to validate new computer architecture designs with low-cost hardware prototyping using FPGAs. The legacy of his then-revolutionary approach to computer architecture and parallel processor design is evident in various commercialized multiprocessors.

Michel’s academic contributions have been recognized by receiving a US patent on « Apparatus for Maintaining Coherence in a Multiprocessor Computer System Using Virtual Cache » as well as by being elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1999 and ACM Fellow in 2005 « for his contributions to the design of high-performance multiprocessor systems » and « for his contributions to the design of multiprocessor memory systems », respectively. In essence, whenever we access memory and execute code that runs on more than one processor, we rely on the foundation built by Michel and others whose works he has in some way inspired, influenced, and/or influenced.

In addition to his many significant academic contributions, Michel has contributed greatly to the professional leadership and service of our information architecture community. He was Program Chair of HPCA 1996 and ISCA 2001, General Chair of ISCA’04 and General Co-Chair of HiPEAC’07, as well as Area Editor and Guest Editor for the Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing (JPDC) and IEEE Transactions on Computers ( TC), just to name a few among many. He also served with honors on the TCCA Executive Committee of the IEEE Computer Society for ten years, from 2006 to 2015. During his 37 years at USC, Michel has guided more than a dozen PhDs to graduation. students, many of whom are now industry leaders. Lui also served administratively as director of the computer engineering division at Ming Hsieh’s electrical and computer engineering department at USC Viterbi.

Michel is survived by his dear wife, Lorraine Dubois, as well as his cousins ​​in Belgium and extended family members in the United States, including Lorraine’s mother, brother and sisters, and Lorraine’s two daughters, Jenna and Melanie.

In Michel’s honor, a memorial symposium will be held to celebrate his life and academic contributions Saturday 29 Octoberthat USC in Los Angeles, California. This symposium will feature many short talks by computer architecture experts from around the world, as well as his former students and colleagues at USC. All are welcome and invited to participate; please visit the memorial site for more information on the speaker roster and schedule of events. While on that site, please also RSVP for the event using the following the RSVP link then we may contact you with timely updates. For those in the broader information architecture community who cannot attend in person but would like to participate remotely, we invite you to join the symposium virtually over Zoom. We also invite anyone who would like to contribute a cartoon about Michel by sharing a short 2 or 3 minute video clip; zoom links for virtual participation and video clip upload function will be available on the memorial site shortly and will be emailed to those who responded to the event.


Murali Annavaram, Per Stenström, Timothy Pinkston

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