|Born||July 23, 1968|
|Alma mater||University of Minnesota, B.S. Computer Science and Engineering (1990)|
University of Washington, Ph.D. Computer Science (1996)
|Known for||MapReduce, Bigtable, Spanner, TensorFlow|
|Institutions||Google; Digital Equipment Corporation|
|Thesis||Whole-program optimization of object-oriented languages (1996)|
|Doctoral advisor||Craig Chambers|
Dean received a B.S., summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota in Computer Science & Economics in 1990. He received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Washington, working under Craig Chambers on compilers and whole-program optimization techniques for object-oriented programming languages in 1996. 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."
Before joining Google, Dean worked at DEC/Compaq's Western Research Laboratory, where he worked on profiling tools, microprocessor architecture, and information retrieval. Much of his work was completed in close collaboration with Sanjay Ghemawat.
Dean joined Google in mid-1999, and is currently the head of its Artificial Intelligence division. While at Google, he 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 underlies 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.
The projects Dean has worked on include:
Dean was the subject of controversy when ethics in AI researcher Timnit Gebru challenged Google's research review process, ultimately leading to her departure from the company. Dean responded by publishing a letter on Google's approach to the research process that was the subject of further criticism and controversy.
Dean and his wife, Heidi Hopper, started the Hopper-Dean Foundation and began making philanthropic grants in 2011. In 2016, the foundation gave $2 million each to UC Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Washington, Stanford University, and Carnegie Mellon University to support programs that promote diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Dean is married and has two daughters.
He is widely credited within the Google corporation and in the general field of Computer science for his numerous contributions to the field.