John Denker was an undergrad at Caltech. During his junior year, he founded a successful small software and electronics company which did pioneering work in many fields including security systems, Hollywood special effects, hand-held electronic games, and video games. Also while still an undergrad, he created and taught a course at Caltech: “Designing with Microprocessors”.
His doctoral research at Cornell examined the properties of a gas of hydrogen atoms at temperatures only a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero, and showed that quantum spin transport and long-lived “spin wave” resonances occur in this dilute Bose gas. Other research concerned the design of ultra-low-noise measuring devices, in which the fundamental quantum-mechanical limitations play an important role.
Dr. Denker joined AT&T Bell Laboratories and worked there for many years, serving in roles including Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, Department Head, and Division Manager. His research interests include computer security, internet telephony, and “neural networks” – combining ideas from biology, physics, computer science, and statistics in order to devise new types of information processing systems. He has also invented novel low-energy “adiabatic” computing systems.
In 1986-87 he was Visiting Professor at the Institute for Theoretical Physics (University of California, Santa Barbara). He has served on the organizing committee of several major scientific conferences.
He holds numerous patents and has written over 50 research papers and one book chapter, and edited the book Neural Networks for Computing. He has lectured widely.
He is well known as a prankster and prototypical mad scientist. Some of his exploits were featured in the films “Real Genius” and “The Age Seeking for Genius”, as well as in publications such as “Time” and “IEEE Spectrum”.
John Denker is certified as a Commercial Pilot, Flight Instructor, and Ground Instructor. He is an FAA Aviation Safety Counselor. He is a past member of the board of trustees of the Monmouth Area Flying Club, and a past member of the National Research Council Committee on Commercial Aviation Security.