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Wally Rhines

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Name  Wally Rhines
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Born  November 11, 1946 (age 69) (1946-11-11) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Occupation  CEO and Chairman of the Board of Mentor Graphics
Residence  Portland, Oregon, United States
Alma mater  University of Michigan, Stanford University, Southern Methodist University

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Walden C. “Wally” Rhines (born November 11, 1946) is an American engineer and businessman. Rhines is President and CEO of Mentor Graphics, a Siemens Business and previously worked as an executive at Texas Instruments. Rhines was named overall CEO of the Year by Portland Business Journal in 2012 and Oregon Technology Executive of the Year by the Technology Association of Oregon in 2003. He was named an IEEE Fellow in 2017.


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Early life and education

Rhines was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father, Frederick N. Rhines, was the Alcoa professor of light metals at the Carnegie Institute of Technology from 1946-1959 and founder of the department of materials science and engineering at the University of Florida, from which he retired in 1978; today the department is housed in Frederick N. Rhines Hall. Rhines earned his bachelor of science in engineering (BSE) from the University of Michigan in 1968 and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Stanford University in 1970 and 1972, respectively. He earned his M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University in 1975.


While at Stanford, Rhines co-invented the magnesium-doped gallium nitride blue light-emitting diode, for which he, Herb Maruska and David Stevenson were awarded a U.S. patent in 1974. Isamu Akasaki built directly on this gallium-nitride research and eventually won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura.

Rhines worked at Texas Instruments (TI) from 1972 to 1993, serving as executive vice president of the semiconductor group and president of the data systems group. While at TI, Rhines led the group that developed the TMS9900, used in the 99/4 series of PCs, the world's first 16-bit home computers. He also supervised development of speech synthesis chips used in the Speak & Spell; developed the first publicly available computer program (for a calculator) to calculate the Black-Scholes value of a stock option; and supervised the creation of the TMS320 digital signal processor. In a 1985 profile of Rhines in the Austin American-Statesman, industry consultant Will Strauss told reporter Russell Mitchell: "He [Rhines] can claim the TMS-320 digital signal processor chip; that's the one to beat on the street right now." By 1990, TI's share of the worldwide market for general purpose DSPs was approximately 60%. A January 1991 article in Electronic Business Buyer reported that "[s]ources say that TI has the only profitable general purpose DSP operation in the world."

Rhines became CEO of Mentor Graphics in 1993, when the company's annual revenue was about $340 million. The company passed $1 billion in revenue for the first time in 2011. In 2013 Mentor Graphics announced it would begin paying a quarterly dividend, making it the only of big three electronic design automation (EDA) companies to do so; (Cadence Design Systems and Synopsys are the other two). Rhines has led the company into new business areas, including providing software for the auto industry; of the big three EDA companies, analyst Tom Diffely said "Mentor has the most going on in these adjacent markets...I think (the auto industry) is going to be a long-term huge market for them."


Rhines has been elected five times (1996, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2010) to serve two-year terms as chair of the Electronic Design Automation Consortium, the international trade association for the EDA industry. He is a board member of TriQuint Semiconductor (1995–2015), QORVO (2015–present) and the Semiconductor Research Corporation (2002–present). Previously he has served on the boards of Cirrus Logic (1995–2009), the Global Semiconductor Alliance (2007–2010), Global Logic Inc. (2014–present) and the Computer and Business Equipment Manufacturers Association, now known as the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (1984–1987). From 1996-2005 Rhines was a trustee at Lewis & Clark College, where he remains a life trustee today.

Awards and honors

  • 1970: U.S. Army Legion of Valor of the United States Bronze Cross for Achievement
  • 1998: honorary doctor of technology degree from Nottingham Trent University
  • 2002: Semico Research Bellwether Award
  • 2003: University of Michigan Alumni Society Merit Award in 2003
  • 2009: International Engineering Consortium distinguished fellow award
  • 2014: Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (he became an Eagle Scout in 1964).
  • 2015: Phil Kaufman Award for his contributions to the EDA and IC design industries.
  • 2016: honorary doctor of technology degree from University of Florida
  • 2017: IEEE Fellow
  • Noted publications

  • Rhines, Walden C. (14 October 2014). "Nobels Should Celebrate Invention and Optimization". EE Times. UBM Tech. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  • Rhines, W.C. (2006). "Sociology of Design and EDA". IEEE Design & Test of Computers. 23 (4): 304–310. doi:10.1109/MDT.2006.103. Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  • Rhines, W.C. (2005). "Moore's law is unconstitutional". Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on VLSA Design. IEEE. pp. 31–32. doi:10.1109/ICVD.2005.121. 
  • Rhines, W.C. (2003). "Part VII: Designers Face Critical Challenges and Discontinuities in Analog/Mixed Signal Design and Physical Verification". In Kuehlmann, Andreas ed. The best of ICCAD : 20 years of excellence in computer-aided design. Boston [u.a.]: Kluwer Academic Publ. pp. 659–662. ISBN 978-1-4020-7391-5. CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list (link)
  • Books

    Rhines is listed as a source in books about the evolving semiconductor industry.

  • Nenni, Daniel (2014). Fabless: The Transformation of the Semiconductor Industry. ASIN 1497525047. CS1 maint: ASIN uses ISBN (link)
  • Moore, James F. (2013). Shared Purpose: A thousand business ecosystems, a connected community, and the future. ASIN 1490502394. CS1 maint: ASIN uses ISBN (link)
  • Philanthropy

    In memory of his father, Rhines endowed the Frederick N. Rhines Professorship at the University of Florida in 2007. He serves on the board of Classic Wines Auction in Portland, which supports a variety of children and family charities.


    Wally Rhines Wikipedia