Bill Joy
Co-founder and Chief Scientist
Sun Microsystems

Bill Joy is a co-founder of the company and a member of the Executive Committee.

Bill received a B.S.E.E. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1975, after which he attended graduate school at U.C. Berkeley where he was the principal designer of Berkeley UNIX (BSD) and received a M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The Berkeley version of UNIX became the standard in education and research, garnering development support from DARPA, and was notable for introducing virtual memory and internetworking using TCP/IP to UNIX. BSD was widely distributed in source form so that others could learn from it and improve it; this style of software distribution has now led to the "open source" movement, of which BSD is now recognized to be one of the earliest examples.

For his work on Berkeley UNIX, Bill received the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award which is given for outstanding work in Computer Science done when the recipient is under the age of thirty. In 1993, Joy was given the Lifetime Achievement Award of the USENIX Association, "For profound intellectual achievement and unparalleled services to the UNIX community."

Since joining Sun from Berkeley in 1982, he has led Sun's technical strategy, spearheading its open systems philosophy. He designed Sun's Network File System (NFS), and was a co-designer of the SPARC microprocessor Architecture. In 1991 he did the basic pipeline design of UltraSparc-I and its multimedia processing features. This basic pipeline is the one used in all of Sun's SPARC microprocessors shipping today.

More recently, Bill has led design investigations of architectures for UltraSparc V, driven the initial business and technical strategy for Java, co-designed the picoJava and ultraJava processor architectures, co-authored the specification for the Java Programming Language, and co-designed the lexical scoping and reflection APIs for Java version 1.1.

Bill's most recent work is on the Jini distributed computing technology for networking computer devices using Java, and on the Sun Community Source Licensing (SCSL) model, designed to allow companies to share their intellectual property in source form, to facilitate cooperation with customers, partners, educators and researchers. Further information on the SCSL is available at

In 1997, Joy was appointed by President Clinton as Co-Chairman of the Presidential Information Technology Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee is providing guidance and advice on all areas of high-performance computing, communications and information technologies to accelerate development and adoption of information technologies that will be vital for American prosperity in the twenty-first century. The report of the committee is available at

Bill was appointed as Chief Scientist of Sun in 1998. His current research is into new uses of distributed computing enabled using Javaand Jini, new methods of human-computer interaction, new microprocessor and system architectures, and the uses in computing of scientific advances in areas such as complex adaptive systems, quantum computing, and the cognitive sciences.

Bill is the co-recipient, with Andy Bechtolsheim also a co-founder of Sun and now a VP at Cisco systems, of the Computerworld Smithsonian Award for Innovation in 1999. Bill is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Bill has 11 issued patents, with 12 in progress.

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