Kennedy taught at Rice University, where he founded the computer science department in 1984. He was known for his work in parallelizing compilers, software programs that enable programmers to write instructions for computers, The New York Times reported Friday.
"These compilers made it possible for mere mortals to write advanced programs," Edward Lazowska, the Bill and Melinda Gates professor of computer science at the University of Washington in Seattle, told The Times. "Ken was the No. 1 person in parallel compiling."
Kennedy's recent research looked at grid computing, an advanced form of parallel computing involving networks of computers connected by optical fiber links, the newspaper reported.