Silicon Valley ‘Rock Star’ and CS&E Alumnus Jeff Dean Makes Cover of Wired

Former University of Minnesota computer science wizard Jeff Dean (CSci ’90) earned national recognition recently when he landed on the cover of Wired. He did so by continuing a dream that began right here on University of Minnesota’s campus—that of building an artificial brain. His early work into brain-like algorithms and artificial intelligence was part of his honors thesis, which he completed under the supervision of Professor Vipin Kumar.

“Jeff Dean is truly a rock star in the Bay Area as depicted in the article,” said Kumar, “but he is unusually modest given the stature of his accomplishments.”


The Wired article, “Finally, Neural Networks that Actually Work,” features the long-time Google engineer in the magazine’s "Next List" series. It expounds on the 25 years of work he has put in creating and reshaping the very computer systems that drive our modern online environment.

Now a Senior Fellow of the Research Group at Google, Dean’s accomplishments have ranged from breakthroughs, such as stringing thousands of small machines together to increase computing power, to ideas that are surely going to change our future, like his work into deep learning that will improve upon the artificial intelligence of self-driving cars and much more.

Dean has remained one of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering’s most prominent alumni, recently endowing a $500K scholarship in honor of Vipin Kumar. Catch up with him by reading Wired’s latest cover story or by checking out the College of Science and Engineering’s profile “Jeff Dean: Google’s Unsung Hero.”