Hosted by California-Asia Business Council (Cal-Asia)
Friday, November 21, 2008 -- Ritz Carlton Hotel, San Francisco

Professor William F. Miller's name is synonymous with the globalization of Silicon Valley and with the technical innovation that binds California and Asia. His pioneering research has spanned atomic and nuclear physics, computer graphic systems and languages, computer architecture, and the computer industry. As President and CEO of SRI International, he opened SRI to the Pacific Region and established its spin-out and commercialization programs. He played a role in establishing the first Mayfield Fund, advancing the field of venture capital to foster new technology and industry in both Asia and North America. He has served on such boards as Signetics, Wells Fargo Bank, PG&E, Varian Associates, Borland Software, and many others, and he serves as Chairman of Sentius Corp and Founder and Chairman of Nanostellar. Aside from his many business contributions, he is the Herbert Hoover Professor of Public & Private Management, Emeritus, at Stanford. A visionary, he continues to be a foremost authority on R&D globalization and development of regional centers of innovation and entrepreneurship in such as regions as China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Malaysia – and of course, California.

An innovator of innovators, Dr. Miller is renowned not only for his achievements in hard science, his academic prominence, but for his drive to disseminate his scientific knowledge by promoting entrepreneurship.

He has maintained two parallel careers, one in education and another in business, both of which permitted him to play a unique role in the development of Silicon Valley.

He received a Ph.D. in physics from Purdue University in 1956 and became Director of the Applied Mathematics Division at Argonne National Laboratory in 1958.  The legendary vice president and provost of Stanford University, Frederick Terman, then recruited Dr. Miller to carry out research in computer science and to direct the research of many graduate students.

Dr. Miller led the computerization of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and laid the foundations for the wiring of the Stanford Campus.  As Vice President for Research, and later as Vice President and Provost, Miller championed the establishment of the Office of Technology Licensing, which has become the model for similar activities at other universities.

In 1968 Dr. Miller played a role in the founding of the first Mayfield Fund (venture-capital) as a special limited partner and adviser to the general partners. As president and chief executive officer of SRI International, he opened SRI to the Pacific region and established a spin-out and commercialization program.  He also established the David Sarnoff Research Center (now the Sarnoff Corp.) as a for-profit subsidiary of SRI.

Since 1990, Dr. Miller, has spent about half his time working with startups and nonprofits in Silicon Valley. He helped organize Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, and served on its Board of Directors for three years.  He co-founded SmartValley, which facilitated worthwhile projects with high impact to benefit the general community.  Dr. Miller also helped in the formation of CommerceNet, a research institute that frees exceptional entrepreneurs to pursue their vision beyond traditional research labs and venture funds.

He is also codirector of SPRIE, The Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which researches the factors that enable innovation in particular regions.

Dr. Miller is chair and co-founder of Nanostellar and Lumiette, both focused on clean energy solutions.  He also serves as chairman of Sentius Corp. and recently joined the advisory board of OlymTech, a software on-demand platform technology provider.

He has served on the National Science Board, on the Board of Directors of major companies such as  Fireman's Fund Insurance, First Interstate Bancorp, First Interstate Bank of California, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Signetics, Scios-Nova, The McKenna Group, Transamerica, Varian Associates, Wells Fargo Bank, WhoWhere? (Chairman), and Borland Software Corp. (Chairman) as well as BHP
International Advisory Council.

He was a founding director and vice chairman for the Center for Excellence in Nonprofits.  Dr. Miller is a life member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, life fellow of IEEE, member of the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame.  He has been an advisor to science centers in China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan  -- often working with governments to develop their technology policies.

In 2000, he received the Japanese Okawa Prize and the DongBaeg (Order of Civil Merit) Medal from the Republic of Korea. He is an honorary professor at Zhejiang University Hangzhou, China.

Francine Brevetti