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The 2021 SPEC Presidential Award Laureate
Klaus-Dieter Lange

Klaus Lange

For a self-described introvert, Klaus Lange has spent an amazing amount of time working with people to transform the tech industry and the SPEC organization. Few individuals have dedicated as much of their careers to SPEC, and Klaus is a key reason SPEC continues to be a premier, highly respected organization. He is a founder and main organizer of two SPEC groups and two SPEC committees and an active and longstanding member of SPEC's Board of Directors. And he is now the well-deserved 2021 recipient of SPEC's highest honor, the Presidential Award.

Growing up in a poor environment, Klaus developed an interest in computing performance because he wanted to get the same performance out of his outdated, hand-me-down computers as his friends were getting with their newer machines. He earned a certification as an electrician in the years before he went to college. When he received his Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and the Technical University of Applied Sciences Lübeck, he was hired as part of the server performance engineering team at Compaq.

In a fortuitous twist for Compaq/HP/HPE, SPEC and our industry, Klaus' apprenticeship as an electrician led him to focus on the importance of thermal management and overall computer performance to energy efficiency — a truly transformative approach.

Early contributions to SPEC

In 2006, Klaus was the main driver behind the creation of the SPECpower Committee. He proposed the Power and Performance Measurement Methodology, which became the foundation for many efficiency benchmarks and tools, even outside of SPEC. As the committee's chairperson, he led the development of the SPECpower_ssj 2008 benchmark, which continues to be the industry standard for measuring server efficiency.

Klaus also initiated collaboration with the U.S. EPA on a new efficiency measurement tool for the Server Energy Star program, which expanded SPEC's scope into the regulatory domain and led to the development of the SERT suite. The suite, which was eventually adopted for mandatory server energy efficiency regulations by the European Union and Japan, became the international standard measurement method for the ISO/IEC 21836:2020 server energy effectiveness metric.

In 2008, Klaus shared his vision for establishing a platform for collaborative research to foster interaction between industry and academia with a group of non-SPEC researchers. This vision led to the creation of the SPEC Research Group and to a significant increase in participation of academic researchers in SPEC. He supported the transformation of the SPEC Workshop into the International Conference on Performance Engineering (ICPE), which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2020.

Ongoing contributions

As a fellow colleague commented recently, "Klaus is everywhere." In addition to serving on the SPEC's Board of Directors, he has served continually on the Research Group Steering Committee, has been the general co-chair for ICPE 2014 in Dublin and the SPEC Asia Symposium in Beijing, is the vice-chair of the RG power working group, and has fostered an extremely successful collaboration between the SPECpower Committee and academia. He has fostered collaboration among more than 50 co-authors from industry and academia, with whom he has written more than 30 research publications and earned multiple best-paper awards. Klaus has also utilized his creativity and innovative mind for workload optimization and the creation of leading energy efficiency solutions at HPE.

An eventful 2020

For Klaus, 2020 began with his continuing support for his wife in her ongoing battle with cancer. He was also focused on navigating the committee's work through the pandemic, reaching out to members to ensure they were safe and helping them as opportunities arose.

Still, during the year, he was one of the thought leaders behind the creation of the fifth division of SPEC, the International Standards Group (ISG), and he did an excellent job leading the effort, integrating stakeholder feedback and gaining approval for creation of the new group.

He also increased the visibility of SPEC and the use of benchmarks in academia and the industry by co-authoring Systems Benchmarking – For Scientists and Engineers, a textbook published in 2020 covering both the theoretical and practical foundations of performance engineering.

Finally, Klaus was promoted to Distinguished Technologist at HPE for his major technical impact and supporting the career growth of many HPE engineers by leveraging technical career path principles.

And while Klaus doesn't think of himself as a manager, he has unselfishly inspired, directed, collaborated, nudged and nagged to create an engaged and inclusive environment that has helped make SPEC a better organization. What else defines a great leader?

The value of SPEC

While Klaus' dedication to SPEC is evident in his many roles and contributions, he also heaps praise on the commitment and contributions of his fellow committee members and the entire SPEC team:

"It's about the passion of everyone who contributes. We all want the same thing, to create high-quality benchmarks that allow fair comparisons in our industry so vendors are encouraged to do better, and users can get the best experience out of their products. That's why SPEC remains so relevant after 33 years."

Congratulations Klaus on receiving the 2021 SPEC Presidential Award!