Nick McKeown


Nick McKeown
Nick McKeown
Fields of study
IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal


Considered the dominant contributor to both the theory and practice of switching technology, Nick McKeown’s work influenced modern router design, overcoming existing bottlenecks and enabling the phenomenal growth of the Internet during the 1990s.

His Bay Bridge router in 1992 was the first example of line-rate processing of data packets by a programmable processor and was considered the world’s fastest router. His work on input-queued switches with virtual output queues in 1995 revolutionized how routers were built and enabled a ten-fold increase in capacity compared to previous routers, becoming the basis for Cisco Systems’ GSR router, which made up 75% of the backbone of the Internet. Dr. McKeown also determined that packet buffers could be made much smaller and developed a new caching system for the routers that allowed the use of less-expensive DRAM chips for “network memory,” saving the industry hundreds of millions of dollars.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. McKeown is currently an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. He was the recipient of the 2021 IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal