Dave Cutler

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Dave Cutler
DavidCutler WindowsAzure.JPG
Cutler at work on Microsoft Azure (2008)
Born (1942-03-13) March 13, 1942 (age 79)[1]
Lansing, Michigan, US
OccupationSenior Technical Fellow at Microsoft
Known forDevelopment of several widely-used commercial operating systems

David Neil Cutler Sr. (born March 13, 1942) is an American software engineer. He developed several computer operating systems, namely Microsoft Windows NT, and Digital Equipment Corporation's RSX-11M, VAXELN and VMS (now OpenVMS).[2]

Personal history

Cutler was born in Lansing, Michigan and grew up in DeWitt, Michigan. After graduating from Olivet College, Michigan, in 1965, he went to work for DuPont.

Cutler holds at least 20 patents, and is affiliate faculty in the Computer Science Department at the University of Washington.[3]

Cutler is an avid auto racing driver. He competed in the Atlantic Championship from 1996 to 2002, scoring a career best of 8th on the Milwaukee Mile in 2000.[2]

Cutler was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1994 for the design and engineering of commercially successful operating systems.

Cutler is a member of Adelphic Alpha Pi Fraternity at Olivet College, Michigan.[citation needed]

DuPont (1965 to 1971)

Cutler's first exposure to computers came when he was tasked to perform a computer simulations model for one of DuPont's customers using IBM's GPSS-3 language on an IBM model 7044.[4] This work led to an interest in how computers and their operating systems worked.

Digital Equipment Corporation (1971 to 1988)

Cutler left DuPont to pursue his interest in computer systems, beginning with Digital Equipment Corporation in 1971. He worked at the famous "Mill" facility in Maynard, Massachusetts.[5]



In April 1975, Digital began a hardware project, code-named Star, to design a 32-bit virtual address extension to its PDP-11. In June 1975, Cutler, together with Dick Hustvedt and Peter Lipman, were appointed the technical project leaders for the software project, code-named Starlet, to develop a totally new operating system for the Star family of processors. These two projects were tightly integrated from the beginning.

The three technical leaders of the Starlet project together with three technical leaders of the Star project formed the "Blue Ribbon Committee" at Digital who produced the fifth design evolution for the programs. The design featured simplifications to the memory management and process scheduling schemes of the earlier proposals and the architecture was accepted. The Star and Starlet projects culminated in the development of the VAX-11/780 superminicomputer and the VAX/VMS operating system, respectively.

PRISM and MICA projects

Digital began working on a new CPU using RISC design principles in 1986. Cutler, who was working in DEC's DECwest facility in Bellevue, Washington, was selected to head PRISM, a project to develop the company's RISC machine. Its operating system, code named MICA, was to embody the next generation of design principles and have a compatibility layer for Unix and VMS. The RISC machine was to be based on ECL technology, and was one of three ECL projects Digital was undertaking at the time.

Funding the Research and Development (R&D) costs of multiple ECL projects yielding products that would ultimately compete against each other was a strain. Of the three ECL projects, the VAX 9000 was the only one that was directly commercialized. Primarily because of the early successes of the PMAX advanced development project and the need for differing business models, PRISM was canceled in 1988 in favor of PMAX.

PRISM later surfaced as the basis of Digital's Alpha family of computer systems.[6]

Attitude towards Unix

Cutler is known for his disdain for all things Unix. His sardonic nature showed through in the VMS versus Unix debates at Digital in the early 1980s. He expressed his low opinion of the Unix process input/output model by reciting "Get a byte, get a byte, get a byte byte byte" to the tune of the finale of Rossini's William Tell Overture.[citation needed]

Microsoft (1988 to Present)

Microsoft Windows NT

Cutler left Digital for Microsoft in October 1988 and led the development of Windows NT. Later, he worked on targeting Windows NT to Digital's 64-bit Alpha architecture then on Windows 2000. After the demise of Windows on Alpha (and the demise of Digital), he was instrumental in porting Windows to AMD's new 64-bit AMD64 architecture. He was officially involved with the Windows XP Pro 64-bit and Windows Server 2003 SP1 64-bit releases. He moved to working on Microsoft's Live Platform in August 2006. Dave Cutler was awarded the prestigious status of Senior Technical Fellow at Microsoft.

Microsoft Windows Azure

At the 2008 Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft announced Azure Services Platform, a cloud-based operating system which Microsoft is developing. During the conference keynote, Cutler was mentioned as a lead developer on the project, along with Amitabh Srivastava.[7]

Microsoft Xbox

As of January 2012, a spokesperson for Microsoft confirmed that Cutler was no longer working on Windows Azure, and had joined the Xbox team.[8] No further information was provided as to what Cutler's role was, nor what he was working on within the team.

In May 2013, Microsoft announced the Xbox One console, and Cutler was mentioned as having worked in the development of host OS portion of the system running inside the new gaming device. Apparently his work was focused in creating an optimized version of Microsoft's Hyper-V Host OS specifically designed for Xbox One.[9]


  • Recognized as a 2007 National Medal of Technology and Innovation Laureate, awarded on 29 September 2008 at a White House ceremony in Washington, DC.[10][11]
  • Honored as a Computer History Museum Fellow on 16 April 2016 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.[12]


  1. ^ Zachary, G. Pascal (2014). Showstopper!: The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft. Open Road Media. ISBN 978-1-4804-9484-8. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  2. ^ a b "2007 Microsoft Technical Recognition Award - Senior Technical Fellow David Cutler". Microsoft, USA. Archived from the original on 2017-02-22. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Affiliate Faculty". The University of Washington. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  4. ^ "David Cutler: The Engineer's Engineer at Microsoft". Microsoft, USA. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  5. ^ Russinovich, Mark (30 November 1998). "Windows NT and VMS: The Rest of the Story". Penton, USA. Archived from the original on 29 May 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  6. ^ "EV-4 (1992)". 2008-02-24.
  7. ^ "Professional Developers Conference 2008 Day 1 Keynote: Ray Ozzie, Amitabh Srivastava, Bob Muglia, Dave Thompson". Microsoft, USA. 27 October 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-11-01. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  8. ^ "Microsoft Confirms Dave Cutler, Father of Windows NT, Now Working on Xbox". ZDNet. CBS Interactive, USA.
  9. ^ "The Engineer's Engineer: Dave Cutler at Microsoft". Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  10. ^ "U.S. Commerce Secretary Gutierrez Announces Technology Council". United States Patent and Trademark Office. 19 August 2008. Archived from the original on 7 October 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  11. ^ "President Bush Presents 2007 National Medals of Science and Technology and Innovation". United States Government. 29 September 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Computer History Museum Fellow Awards". Computer History Museum, USA. Retrieved 18 April 2016.


By: Wikipedia.org
Edited: 2021-06-18 18:37:52
Source: Wikipedia.org