John Cocke

John Cocke (* May 30, 1925 in Charlotte, North Carolina; † July 16, 2002 in Valhalla, New York ) was an American computer scientist who has made great contributions to computer architecture and compiler optimization. He is considered the creator of the RISC architecture.


John Cocke studied at Duke University, where he 1946 he received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1956 and his Ph.D. made in mathematics. Cocke spent his entire career from 1956 to 1992 as a researcher at IBM. In addition, he was a visiting professor at MIT and at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University.

In 1970 he independently developed by Daniel Younger, Tadao Kasami and other the Cocke - Younger - Kasami algorithm for solving the word problem. In 1974, he created with Lalit Bahl, Frederick Jelinek and Josef Raviv the BCJR algorithm for decoding of block and convolutional codes. In 1975 he developed at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center, the RISC concept for the minicomputer IBM 801, by adapting the instruction set design at the comparatively simple actually used by compilers instructions and enabled such high performance at low cost. Earlier Cocke also dealt intensively with compiler optimization, without which a RISC machines can not be used effectively.

He was IBM Fellow, 1979 Member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1972. 1985 Eckert - Mauchly Award, he was awarded, in 1986 he became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1987 he received the Turing Award in 1988 an honorary doctorate from Duke University, 1991, the National Medal of Technology. In 1993 he was elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, 1994, he received the National Medal of Science and the John von Neumann Medal, the 1999 Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award, and the 2000 Benjamin Franklin Medal.