Oyekunle Ayinde (Kunle) Olukotun is a pioneer of multi-core processors, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Stanford University and director of the Pervasive Parallelism Laboratory at Stanford.Olukotun did his undergraduate studies at Calvin College,and his doctoral studies in computer engineering at the University of Michigan, under the supervision of Trevor N. Mudge.In the mid-1990s, Olukotun and his co-authors argued that multi-core computer processors were likely to make better use of hardware than existing superscalar designs.
In 2000, while a professor at Stanford, Olukotun founded Afara Websystems, a company that designed and manufactured multi-core SPARC-based computer processors for data centers. Afara was purchased by Sun Microsystems in 2002;at Sun, Olukotun was one of the architects of the 2005 UltraSPARC T1 processor.In 2008, Olukotun returned to Stanford, and founded the Pervasive Parallelism Laboratory at Stanford after gathering US$6M in funding from several computer-industry corporations. His recent work focuses on domain-specific programming languages that can allow algorithms to be easily adapted to multiple different types of parallel hardware including multi-core systems, graphics processing units, and field-programmable gate arrays.
Olukotun is also a member of the board of advisors of UDC, a Nigerian venture capital firm.He was elected as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery in 2006 for his “contributions to multiprocessors on a chip and multi threaded processor design”. He became a Fellow of the IEEE in 2008.Olukotun has used several words from his African heritage in his research. Afara, the name of the company he founded, means “bridge” in the Yoruba language,and he has named his server at Stanford Ogun after the Yoruba god of iron and steel, a play on words since large computers are frequently called big iron.