IEEE Intersociety Thermal and Thermomechanical Conference


IEEE ITherm Conference

The Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems

ITherm Achievement Award 1996

Dr. Richard C. Chu

In 1995 the ITHERM Executive Committee decided unanimously to establish an award to honor distinguished contributions by members of the electronics packaging thermal management community. The ITHERM Memorial Award honors individuals who, by their significant contributions to the art, science, and pedagogy of thermal engineering for electronics packaging, have promoted a culture of excellence in this emerging technology field.

It is fitting that the first recipient of the ITHERM Memorial Award is Richard C. Chu of the IBM Corporation. For thirty years Dick Chu has made significant contributions to the development of cooling technology and thermal systems for electronic equipment in general and large-scale computers in particular. He is a world-recognized authority on cooling technology for electronic equipment and has 40 issued patents on cooling and packaging technology, including one for the IBM Thermal Conduction Module (TCM), which has been the cornerstone of IBM mainframe computers since the early 1980’s. Throughout his career, he has nurtured an industry-university collaborative research program, which has since become a model for successful interaction between industry and academia. That research program was prominent in bringing electronics cooling to the forefront of important emerging research areas.

Dick received his BS in Mechanical Engineering at National Cheng-Kung University in 1958 and an MS in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University in 1960. In 1992 he received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the American University of the Caribbean. More recently, in May 1996, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering degree from Purdue University. His career at IBM began in 1960, and he subsequently has held numerous technical and managerial positions in the Development Laboratory in Poughkeepsie, New York. He invented/co-invented the Modular Conduction Cooling System and the Thermal Conduction Module Cooling Concept, which have been implemented on all of today’s large-scale IBM computers. He was responsible for the successful implementation of the Air-Liquid Hybrid Cooling Systems for the IBM System 360/ 370 computers. His inventions are documented in over 40 patents and over 120 patent disclosure publications, most of which have been reduced to engineering applications across IBM product lines. Many of his patents and publications have been recognized outside of IBM as industry standards for the cooling of electronic equipment. He has published extensively, including two books, five book chapters, and over 50 technical publications. The importance of these contributions to IBM and the computer industry led to his appointment in 1983 as an IBM Fellow, the company’s highest technical honor. He is widely recognized outside of IBM for his contributions as evidenced by the many honors he has achieved, including the ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award in 1986, and his election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1987.

Since 1967 he has managed IBM’s university research program in electronics cooling technology. Under his leadership, basic and applied electronics cooling research projects have been conducted at MIT, RPI, Clarkson University, Iowa State University, University of Minnesota, Purdue, Stanford, U.C.-Berkeley, Georgia Tech, University of Arizona, and Duke University, resulting in over 100 theses with 40% at the Ph.D. level. The result of this sustained industry-university collaborative research has greatly strengthened the nation’s competitiveness in the electronic cooling field. The program is a model for successful industry sponsored university research programs. For his countless technical contributions to the technology of electronics thermal management, for his leadership in nurturing and establishing electronics cooling as a legitimate research arena, and for his tireless efforts to foster meaningful interaction between U.S. industry and academic institutions, the 1996 ITHERM Memorial Award is hereby awarded to Richard C. Chu with the thanks and appreciation of the ITHERM Community.