Each year, SPEC recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions.

2023 SPECtacular Award Winner for Technical Leadership

Brian Bothwell, Lenovo

In 2022, Brian Bothwell was involved in an initiative that had a significant impact on all three Graphics and Workstation Performance Group (GWPG) committees. He architected and championed a unified GUI framework that created a consistent user interface for all GWPG benchmarks, as well as provide a new release control and software development model. This major initiative will significantly accelerate benchmark development, increase benchmark ease-of-use and ease-of-installation, and further SPEC’s reputation for professionalism among the user community. This framework, under which all new GWPG benchmarks will be developed, was first rolled out in the SPECapc for Solidworks 2022 benchmark. Brian contributed hundreds of hours of his time to the effort. His flexibility and wisdom led him to take an iterative approach that allows for faster progress on interim releases. Brian was a true workhorse in both troubleshooting issues and contributing ideas related to increasing simplicity. 

2023 SPECtacular Award Winner for Outstanding Leadership

Ross Cunniff, Nvidia

The release of the SPECviewperf 2020 v3.0 Linux Edition benchmark would not have happened without Ross Cunniff’s tireless efforts. He identified the need for the benchmark, led the project, and pushed it through to completion, pulling in resources to get the job done. Ross brings a deep understanding of the workstation market, who the users are, what their challenges are, and why a Linux version is important to both users and vendors. He also understood that creating a Linux version of the benchmark would increase the number of vendors and businesses depending on the industry standard workstation graphics benchmark and expanding the reach and prestige of SPEC as an organization. His value to SPEC extends well beyond his input on SPECviewperf. Ross served as a founding Board member for the MLCommons benchmark consortium and brings a broad industry perspective to SPEC. As the chair of the SPECgpc Committee, Ross is highly involved, supporting other Graphics and Workstation Performance Group (GWPG) committees and contributing to the development and refinement of GWPG policies to increase GWPG’s resilience and professionalism.

2023 SPECtacular Award Winner for Technical Leadership

Trey Morton, Dell
As the 2022 chair of the Graphics and Workstation Performance Group’s (GWPG) SPECapc Committee, Trey Morton continually pushed to build momentum to increase application benchmark output, knowing that if he took his foot off the pedal it would be too easy for the group to fall behind. His efforts came to fruition with an unprecedented five benchmark releases and updates, including for 3ds Max, Maya and SolidWorks. This was a monumental feat, given the small group of people who are actively involved in benchmark development. As SPECapc Chair, Trey’s goal was ensuring SPECapc stays on top of the industry and is always increasing engagement with the ISV community to improve the quality and utility of SPEC’s benchmarks. He always looked for opportunities to broaden GWPG’s application coverage by opening doors with additional ISVs. Trey also recognized the importance of adding new benchmark models that exercise new application capabilities in the way that real users use them.

2023 SPECtacular Award Winner for Outstanding Leadership

Alex Shows, Dell
In May 2021, Alex Shows was nominated as the inaugural Chair of the Board Communications (Comms) Committee, and he took on this role with his typical gusto, charm and tenacity. His leadership has been instrumental in progressing the Committee’s goal of shining a clearer light on the work SPEC does to further state-of-the-art performance benchmarking. This includes working closely with SPEC’s PR/Marketing representative and the Comms committee members, launching the SPEC blog, supporting the launch of the new SPEC newsletter, and ensuring Comms services are available to all Committees. Alex also participated in endless meetings to get the new SPEC logo designed and approved, including writing the first draft of a comprehensive brand guide. A dedicated and tireless member of SPEC, Alex has also taken on a range of projects, including coordinating with SPEC Groups on external communications procedures and activities, reviewing and updating the SPEC publicity policy, updating the SPEC website FAQ, updating the leadership section of the website, creating a Wiki to house Comms Committee collateral and updates, and so much more.

2023 SPEC Impact Award Winner for Technical Leadership

Jessica Heerboth, Nvidia
Jessica Heerboth enthusiastically assumed the role as the main driver of porting the old SPECapc for 3ds Max benchmark to the new SPECapc for 3ds Max 2020 benchmark. To do this, Jessica had to start with a benchmark designed for 2015 hardware, which meant she had to painstakingly examine existing workloads and determine what made sense to remove and what could be ported to the new version. There are also differences in the way scripts are executed now versus how they were run in 2015. In addition, differences in the way some scripts were encrypted meant they couldn’t be resolved by examining code in a text document. As a result, Jessica spent significant time working with Autodesk to determine which workloads could be used in the new version, and that they would make sense to the users. She also created test builds that incorporated feedback from various members of the SPECapc committee.

2023 SPEC Impact Award Winner for Technical Contribution

Ravi Jagannadhan, AMD; Pallavi Mehrotra, Intel; Erik Niemeyer, Intel

The SPECapc for Maya 2023 benchmark introduces a significant new animation feature as part of its workload, which allows some, or all, of its data to be cached, potentially requiring tremendous amounts of hardware resources. Pallavi Mehrotra, Erik Niemeyer and Ravi Jagannadhan conducted extensive testing and troubleshooting to determine the hardware requirements and configurations needed to ensure the feature would function correctly, which is key for both vendors and users to understand. Without their work, the Graphics and Workstation Performance Group (GWPG) would not have been able to include this important new feature in the benchmark.

Pallavi and Erik suggested the workload to use as an example of animation caching, and they worked through issues with variability. Ravi drew on his application expertise to understand how Maya users use this feature and why. The trio also focused on determining the correct name for the benchmark metric for ease in understanding what it was and its relevance. To pull off this monumental task, they collaborated together despite working for different companies, with Autodesk and Allen Jensen, SPECapc Vice Chair, the lead benchmark developer.

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