Artifact Details


Bryant, Randy (Randal E.) oral history

Catalog Number



Moving image


Randy Bryant describes his upbringing and people who influenced his early life. His grandfather and father were both professors, and his mother also had a PhD. He developed an early interest in math that he carried on to his college career at the University of Michigan. He quickly got “hooked” on computers. Upon graduation, he headed off to MIT in 1974 to pursue his PhD.

While attending MIT he was introduced to VLSI design and as a result saw the need for a high performance switch level simulator to provide functional verification of new designs. His creation, MOSSIM, became wildly popular, not only in the burgeoning university design community but in industry as well, in particular at Intel. His PhD thesis became the development of a more formal model for what had been implanted in an ad hoc fashion.

After earning his PhD, he spent some time at Caltech, but eventually settled in as a professor at Carnegie Mellon. During this time he developed the concept of Binary Decision Diagrams, or BDDs. The original paper he wrote on BDDs has become the most cited paper in computer science. This mathematical insight proved very powerful in the development of future electronic design automation (EDA) tools, including some in the area of formal verification. In addition to his academic accomplishments, he served for 10 years as the Dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon until July 2014.




Bryant, Randal E., Interviewee
Fairbairn, Doug, Interviewer
Fortier, James, Videographer


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, California





Copyright Holder

Computer History Museum


Oral history


semiconductor history; Electronic design automation (EDA); MOSSIM; VLSI design; Silicon Structures Project; Binary Decision Diagram (BDD); Switch-level simulation; Formal verification

Collection Title

Oral history collection


Computer History Museum

Lot Number


Related Records

102739941 Bryant, Randy (Randal E.) oral history