Artifact Details


Ditzel, David (Dave) oral history

Catalog Number



Moving image




Dennis, Eric, Videographer
Ditzel, David R., Interviewee
Krewell, Kevin, Interviewer


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, California




David Ditzel was born in the mid-1950’s and grew up in the Midwest. He was a precocious child who was involved with electronics and then computing at a very early age. He was fixing neighbor’s TV sets while still in elementary school and wrote his first computer program in fifth grade. While in high school in Ames Iowa, he was able to work on the SYMBOL computer at the local University, a privilege normally accorded only graduate students and professors. Through this contact and studying the architectures of the microprocessors that were emerging, he had a very early introduction to the key concepts and tradeoffs in computer architecture.

His early accomplishments led him to a job at Bell Labs where he was the youngest engineer working with the team developing C and UNIX. Bell Labs subsequently sent him to UC Berkeley for graduate work where he developed a strong collaboration with Dave Patterson. They ended up co-authoring the seminal paper, “The Case for RISC”, where they laid out the advantages of a Reduced Instruction Set Computer architecture.

Ditzel later became CTO at Sun Microsystems where he led the development of several generations of SPARC processors. After Sun, he co-founded another processor company, Transmeta in 1995 where he served as CEO. He and his team raised over $250M in venture funding, but the company eventually failed due to manufacturing issues. Dave subsequently joined Intel, where, at the time of this oral history, he is Vice President of the Digital Enterprise Group and chief architect for Hybrid Parallel Computing.


Oral history


SYMBOL; RISC; David Patterson; John Hennesey; IBM 801; MIPS; SPARC; Sun Microsystems; Transmeta; VLIW

Collection Title

CHM oral history collection


Computer History Museum

Lot Number


Related Records

102737949 Ditzel, David (Dave) oral history