Computer Sciences Dept.

Mark D. Hill

Gene M. Amdahl & John P. Morgridge Professor
and Computer Sciences Department Chair

2006 Photo of Mark D. Hill by Bob Rashid
By Bob Rashid in 2006
Research Interests: Computer architecture, parallel computing, memory systems, and performance evaluation.

Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.

--Report of the Board of Regents in 1849.

Teaching Interests: Computer engineering (CS/ECE 252), computer organization (354 and 552), computer architecture (752), parallel computer architecture (757), and topic courses (758 and 838).

Ph.D.: (Computer Science) University of California - Berkeley, 1987.

Short Biography: Mark D. Hill ( is the Gene M. Amdahl & John P. Morgridge Professor and Computer Sciences Department Chair at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also co-leads the Wisconsin Multifacet ( project with David Wood. His research interests include parallel computer system design, memory system design, computer simulation, deterministic replay and transactional memory. He earned a PhD from University of California, Berkeley. He is an ACM Fellow and a Fellow of the IEEE.

Longer Biography: Mark D. Hill ( is Gene M. Amdahl & John P. Morgridge Professor and Computer Sciences Department Chair at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also has long had a UW-Madison Electrical and Computer Engineering courtesy appointment.

Dr. Hill's research targets computer design and evaluation. He has made contributions to parallel computer system design (e.g., memory consistency models and cache coherence), memory system design (caches and translation buffers), computer simulation (parallel systems and memory systems), software (e.g., page tables and cache-conscious optimizations), deterministic replay and transactional memory. For example, he is the inventor of the widely-used 3C model of cache behavior (compulsory, capacity, and conflict misses) and co-inventor of the cornerstone for the C++ and Java multi-threaded memory specifications (sequential consistency for data-race-free programs).

Hill's current research is mostly part of the Wisconsin Multifacet Project that seeks to improve the multiprocessor servers that form the computational infrastructure for Internet web servers, databases, and other demanding applications. The Multifacet work focuses on using the transistor bounty provided by Moore's Law to improve multiprocessor performance, cost, and fault tolerance, while also making these systems easier to design and program.

Hill has selected as a John P. Morgridge Endowed Chair of UW-Madison Computer Sciences in 2015. He was named an ACM Fellow (2004) for contributions to memory consistency models and memory system design, elevated to a Fellow of the IEEE (2000) for contributions to cache memory design and analysis, and was awarded the ACM SIGARCH Distinguished Service Award in 2009. He was won four important University of Wisconsin-Madison awards: WARF Named Professorship in 2013 (2nd winner from CS), Kellett in 2010 (3rd winner from CS), Vilas Associate in 2006, and Romnes Fellow in 1997. He co-wrote A Primer on Memory Consistency and Cache Coherence in 2011 (downloaded over 5000 times), co-edited Readings in Computer Architecture in 2000, is co-inventor of over 30 United States patents (several of which have been co-issued in the European Union & Japan), was an ACM SIGARCH Director (1993-2007), won an NSF Presidential Young Investigator award in 1989, and member of informal ISCA and MICRO Halls of Fame. He is co-author of five papers selected by IEEE Micro Top Picks He is co-author of six papers selected by IEEE Micro Top Picks, co-won the best paper award in VLDB 2001, and has an H-index of 67. He has held visiting positions at Advanced Micro Devices (2011), University of Washington (2011), Columbia University (2010), Universidad Politecnica de Catalunya (2002-03) and Sun Microsystems (1995-96). Dr. Hill earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California - Berkeley in 1987, an M.S. in Computer Science from Berkeley in 1983, and a B.S.E. in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor in 1981.

Academic Ancestors (1000 years!) and Posterity

US National Science Foundation (NSF) News Story including video going back to Hill's childhood, 2014.

Timeline of 40 Years of Computer Architecture at UW-Madison (8MB).

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