Ruby Lee, leader in computer design, elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Friday, Apr 24, 2020
by Scott Lyon

Ruby B. Lee, a pioneer in computer architecture, hardware security and multimedia, has been named a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, recognizing her career of innovation and scholarship.

Lee, the Forest G. Hamrick Professor of Engineering and a professor of electrical engineering, is one of 276 members inducted into the academy's 2020 class. Her work at Princeton explores how the security and performance of computing systems can be significantly and simultaneously improved by hardware architecture. Her designs of secure processor architectures have strongly influenced industry security offerings and also inspired new generations of academic researchers in hardware security, side-channel attacks and defenses, secure processors and caches, and enhanced cloud computing and smartphone security. This research lies at the intersection of computer architecture, cyber security and, more recently, the branch of artificial intelligence known as deep learning.

Lee spent 17 years designing computers at Hewlett-Packard, and was a chief architect there while also a consulting professor at Stanford University, before coming to Princeton. Among many achievements, Lee is known in the computer industry for her design of the HP Precision Architecture (HPPA or PA-RISC) that powered HP’s commercial and technical computer product families for several decades, and was widely regarded as introducing key forward-looking features . In the 1990s Lee spearheaded the development of microprocessor instructions for accelerating multimedia, which enabled video and audio streaming, leading to ubiquitous digital media.

Lee was inducted as a Fellow into the Association for Computing Machinery in 2001, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 2002.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1780 and each year recognizes exceptional accomplishments in the arts, the sciences and business and civic leadership. Its members include Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Alexander Graham Bell, Margaret Mead, Jonas Salk, Martin Luther King, Jr., Aaron Copland, I.M. Pei, Toni Morrison, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill and Laurence Olivier. Lee is joined in the 2020 class by her Princeton engineering colleagues Margaret Martonosi, the Hugh Trumbull Adams '35 Professor, and Alexander Smits, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Emeritus.