\sffamily Company Founder, Researcher, Author, Teacher

Company Founder, Researcher, Author, Teacher

Neil J. Gunther, B.Sc. Hons. (LaT), M.Sc. (LaT), Ph.D. (Soton), Dip.Ed., SMACM, SMIEEE

A.A. Michelson Award 2008

Neil Gunther was born in Melbourne,Australia. He holds undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Physics, a Masters Degree in Applied Mathematics (1976) from La Trobe University, Australia, and a doctorate in Theoretical Physics (1980) from the University of Southampton, England. As an undergraduate, he became determined to avoid computers after dropping yet another box of his FORTRAN punch-cards containing molecular orbital calculations for a PDP-8 minicomputer. It seemed he was doing more for the computer than it was doing for him!
However, upon arriving in the "Silicon Valley" in 1980 (at the dawn of the PC revolution) he went from avoiding computers to building one! Nonetheless, in the ensuing years, his physical sciences background has provided valuable "ignorance" for understanding how computer systems really work.
While learning to embrace the new PC computer technology, Dr. Gunther taught physics at San Jose State University from 1980-1981. He then became involved in contract work for NASA and JPL, modeling thermoelectric materials used by the power systems on the Voyager and Galileo deep spacecraft.
In 1982, Dr. Gunther joined the famous Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (no longer owned by Xerox Corp.) where he spent eight years as a researcher (PARC was his postdoctoral education in Computer Science). At PARC, he developed the PARCbench multiprocessor benchmark (an early SPEC benchmark contender), and he also developed the path-integral method (borrowed from quantum mechanics) for analyzing large transients in computer systems and packet networks.
This latter research formed the basis of PART III of his book The Practical Performance Analyst. Other work at Xerox PARC included VLSI design and test for the Dragon multiprocessor workstation. The Xerox Dragon was later reincarnated as the SPARCcenter 2000 multiprocessor based on the XDbus from Sun Microsystems. The XD in XDbus stands for Xerox Dragon.
In 1990 Dr. Gunther joined Pyramid Technology (now Fujitsu Siemens Computers) where he held positions as Senior Scientist and Manager of the Performance Analysis Group. In that capacity he helped Pyramid attain industry-high TPC benchmarks on their Unix multiprocessor products. He also carried out performance simulations for the design of the RM1000 massively parallel database server.
In 1994 Dr. Gunther founded Performance Dynamics Company whose clients include such well-known companies as AT&T Wireless, eBay, FedEx, and Sun Microsystems. Performance Dynamics Educational Services also offers training courses and workshops for the performance management and capacity planning of large-scale distributed systems. Dr. Gunther lectures worldwide (including courses given at Stanford and UCLA) and he has written numerous articles, and several books on a variety of topics in computer performance analysis. Dr. Gunther is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), American Mathematical Society (AMS), American Physical Society (APS), SIGMETRICS, and the Computer Measurement Group (CMG), where he was awarded Best Technical Paper in 1996, and the A.A. Michelson Award in 2008; the industry's highest honor for computer performance analysis and capacity planning. He was also recently elected Senior Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Performance Dynamics has also embarked on joint research into QIT (Quantum Information Technology) where Dr. Gunther has developed a theory of qubit bifurcation that is currently being tested experimentally. Since Dr. Gunther's has Dirac number 2 (because he received his M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics under Prof. C. J. Eliezer; one of Dirac's few research students) and his Ph.D. was awarded for studies in Broken Dynamical Symmetries in Quantum Field Theory and Phase Transition Phenomena, he is well-equipped to explore the new frontier between classical IT and quantum IT.
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