Dave Patterson was born in Evergreen Park, Illinois, in 1947 and holds an BA in mathematics (1969), and MS and PhD degrees in computer science (1970, 1976) all from UCLA. He holds the Pardee Chair of Computer Science at UC Berkeley, where he has taught computer architecture since 1977. Over the course of his career, he has emphasized the integration of teaching with research and the fostering of ties between industry and academia. These ties have proven critical to the rapid adoption of many of his innovations.
From 1982 to 1983, Patterson led the RISC project, a collaboration between UC Berkeley and the ARPA VLSI program. This project became the foundation of the highly influential SPARC micro-architecture from Sun Microsystems and has had wide influence across the field of computer design.
Between 1989 and 1993, Patterson and Berkeley colleague Randy Katz led the Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks (RAID) project, which resulted in vast improvements in disk system speed and reliability. Nearly every web server in the world now uses some form of raid.
Patterson was made an ACM Fellow in 1994 and served as its president from 2004 to 2006. He is also a fellow of the IEEE Computer Society, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.