Jeff Dean (computer scientist)

Jeff Dean
Born 1968 (age 4950)
Residence United States
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Minnesota, B.S. Computer Science and Economics (1990)
University of Washington, Ph.D. Computer Science (1996)
Known for MapReduce, Bigtable, Spanner, TensorFlow
Scientific career
Fields Computer Technology
Institutions Google; Digital Equipment Corporation
Thesis Whole-program optimization of object-oriented languages (1996)
Doctoral advisor Craig Chambers

Jeffrey Adgate "Jeff" Dean (born 1968) is an American computer scientist and software engineer. He is currently the lead of, Google's AI division[1].


Dean received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Washington, working under Craig Chambers on whole-program optimization techniques for object-oriented languages.[2] He received a B.S., summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota in Computer Science & Economics in 1990.[3] He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2009, which recognized his work on "the science and engineering of large-scale distributed computer systems."[4][5]

Career in computer science

Before joining Google, he was at DEC/Compaq's Western Research Laboratory,[6] where he worked on profiling tools, microprocessor architecture, and information retrieval.[7] Much of his work was completed in close collaboration with Sanjay Ghemawat.[8]

Prior to graduate school, he worked at the World Health Organization's Global Programme on AIDS, developing software for statistical modeling and forecasting of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.[7]

Career at Google

Dean joined Google in mid-1999, and is currently the head of Artificial Intelligence. While at Google, he has designed and implemented large portions of the company's advertising, crawling, indexing and query serving systems, along with various pieces of the distributed computing infrastructure that sits underneath most of Google's products. At various times, he has also worked on improving search quality, statistical machine translation, and various internal software development tools and has had significant involvement in the engineering hiring process. After two years, as John Giannandrea steps down from his role as head of the search and AI, Dean takes over along with Ben Gomes splitting roles. Dean will be looking after the AI unit while Ben Gomes leads the development of search.[9]

The projects Dean has worked on include:

  • Spanner, a scalable, multi-version, globally distributed, and synchronously replicated database
  • Some of the production system design and statistical machine translation system for Google Translate
  • Bigtable, a large-scale semi-structured storage system
  • MapReduce, a system for large-scale data processing applications
  • Google Brain, a system for large-scale artificial neural networks
  • LevelDB, an open-source on-disk key-value store
  • TensorFlow, an open-source machine-learning software library


Dean and his wife, Heidi Hopper, started the Hopper-Dean Foundation and began making philanthropic grants in 2011. In 2016, the foundation gave $1 million to MIT to support programs that promote diversity in STEM.[10]

Personal life

Dean is married and has one daughter.

Awards and honors

He is widely credited within the Google corporation and in the general field of computer science for his numerous contributions to the field. Besides his more formal awards, there is a long list of honorary jokes, which make him look like a superhuman.[13]

Major publications


  1. The Verge report on Dean as new Google AI Chief
  2. "STANFORD TALKS; Jeff Dean: TensorFlow Overview and Future Directions". Stanford University. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  3. "CS&E Alumnus Jeff Dean Elected to Academy of Arts & Sciences". University of Minnesota. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  4. "UW CSE News; Jeff Dean elected to National Academy of Engineering". University of Washington. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  5. "Jeffrey A Dean - Award Winner". Association for Computing Machinery. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  6. Metz, Cade (8 August 2008). "If Xerox PARC Invented the PC, Google Invented the Internet | WIRED". WIRED. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  7. 1 2 "Jeff Dean - Speakerpedia, Discover & Follow a World of Compelling Voices". Speakerpedia. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  8. Metz, Cade (2012-08-08). "If Xerox PARC Invented the PC, Google Invented the Internet". WIRED. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
  9. D'Onfro, Jillian (2018-04-02). "Google is splitting A.I. into its own business unit and shaking up its search leadership". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  10. Williams, Tate (10 August 2016). "One of Google's Top Programmers Has Made STEM Diversity a Philanthropic Cause - Inside Philanthropy". Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  11. ACM-Infosys Foundation Award
  12. Newly Elected Members, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, April 2016, retrieved 2016-04-20
  13. What are all the Jeff Dean facts, Quora, April 2018, retrieved 2018-04-04
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