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Joel Emer Edit Profile

educator , computer engineer

Joel Emer, American computer engineer, educator. Fellow: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).


Emer, Joel was born on March 2, 1954 in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Son of Jerome and Jean Emer.


Dr Emer received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign under the supervision of Prof. Edward S. Davidson.


He is currently a researcher at Nvidia, and was formerly an Intel Fellow. He was the 2009 recipient of the Eckert–Mauchly Award, an ACM/IEEE joint award for contributions to computer and digital systems architecture. His first job immediately after graduation was at Digital Equipment Corporation where he initially worked on VAX performance evaluation and then on Alpha performance evaluation.

As a consequence of his performance evaluation work, he became a pioneer in the quantitative approach to computer architecture. In conjunction with the development and application of various performance analysis techniques, he contributed a variety of research and advanced development ideas that were incorporated into various VAX and Alpha designs. He is well known, along with his co-author Douglas W. Clark, for a seminal paper on the quantitative analysis of processor architectures, which was published in the 11th International Symposium on Computer Architecture.

That paper also contained the result that the VAX-11/780's performance was actually 0.5 MIPS instead of 1 MIPS as was previously claimed by DEC. That result helped popularize what Clark called the Iron Law of Performance that related cycles per instruction (CPI), frequency and number of instructions to computer performance. Dr Emer has also contributed to simultaneous multithreading (SMT), memory dependence prediction via store sets, soft error analysis, and led the development of the Asim simulator.


  • Other Work

    • Contributor articles to professional journals.


Fellow: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).


Married Robin Burrows, November 8, 1981. Children: David, Aaron.

Jerome Emer

Jean Emer

Robin Burrows

David Emer

Aaron Emer