Professor John Owens Named IEEE 2020 Fellow

IEEE logo
image of John Owens

Dr. John Owens, Child Family Professor of Engineering and Entrepreneurship, has been named an IEEE Fellow in recognition of his contributions to heterogeneous parallel computing. The IEEE Grade of Fellow is conferred by the IEEE Board of Directors upon a person with an outstanding record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest. The total number selected in any one year cannot exceed 0.1% of the total voting membership. IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership and is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement.

Professor John Owens is a pioneer in fundamental algorithms and data structures for GPU computing - critical in the transformative change from the previous narrow use of GPUs for graphics rendering to the current widespread use in delivering performance and energy efficiency for key applications in machine learning and other key domains. More recently, John’s innovative Gunrock framework has become a landmark in the advance of graph analytics on GPUs. With over 17,000 citations to his work and landmark technical contributions, he is widely recognized as a key enabler of the widespread use of GPUs today.

Wen-mei Hwu, the AMD Jerry Sanders Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign remarks, "John has been a key player in the GPU Computing revolution. His team has contributed to important and intellectually challenging library functions such as prefix sum, iterative solvers, and graph traversal. The elevation of his IEEE Membership to Fellow grade is a very fitting recognition of his outstanding contributions."

Prof. Owens has received a number of top honors and awards in his area of research. He is currently PI of the UC Davis-NVIDIA Center for GPU Graph Analytics and an NVIDIA CUDA Fellow. He has received multiple Test of Time Awards at ACM/Eurographics High Performance Graphics; both the Distinguished Paper Award and the Best Artifact Award at Euro-Par 2018, as well as earlier Euro-Par awards; multiple Distinguished Paper awards at the Association for Computing Machinery’s SIGPLAN Symposia and others; ECE’s Distinguished Research Award in 2019; and the 2018 Advisor of Excellence Award from the Theta Tau Professional Engineering Fraternity. In 2017, he was elected an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Distinguished Member. Recently, he was also elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for advancing technology for humanity. Through its 400,000 plus members in 160 countries, the association is a leading authority on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics.

Dedicated to the advancement of technology, the IEEE publishes 30 percent of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, and has developed more than 1,300 active industry standards. The association also sponsors or co-sponsors nearly 1,700 international technical conferences each year. If you would like to learn more about IEEE or the IEEE Fellow Program, please visit