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William F. Miller

Professor Emeritus, Political Economy
Contact Info
Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management, Emeritus
Professor of Computer Science, Emeritus, School of Engineering
Senior Fellow Emeritus, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Academic Area: 
Political Economy

Research Statement

Professor William F. Miller has carried out research on atomic and nuclear physics, computer graphic systems and languages, computer systems architecture, and the computer industry. His current research interests are on industrial development with special interest in local and regional industrial development, the evolution of regions of innovation and entrepreneurship, the “habitat” for entrepreneurship, and the globalization of R&D. His international industrial development studies have focused on Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, and Malaysia.


William F. Miller is Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management Emeritus; Professor of Computer Science Emeritus; President Emeritus, SRI International; Chairman Emeritus, Borland Software Corporation; and Chairman/Founder of Nanostellar, Inc.

Miller has spent about half of his professional life in business and about half in academia. He was the last faculty member recruited to Stanford University by the legendary Frederick Terman who was then Vice President and Provost of Stanford. Miller, himself, later became Vice President and Provost of Stanford. He conducted research and directed many graduate students in Computer Science. Miller was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Chicago and a Visiting Professor at Purdue University.

In 1968 Miller played a role in the founding of the first Mayfield Fund (venture capital) as a special limited partner and advisor to the general partners.

As President and CEO of SRI International (1979-1990) Miller opened SRI to the Pacific Region, he established the spin-out and commercialization program at SRI, and established the Sarnoff Corporation as a for-profit subsidiary of SRI. He became the Chairman and CEO.

In 1982, Miller was appointed to the National Science Board. He has served on the board of directors of several major companies such as Signetics, Firemans Fund Insurance, First Interstate Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Varian Associates, WhoWhere? Inc. (Chairman), and Borland Software Corp. (Chairman).

He cofounded SmartValley, Inc. and aided the formation of CommerceNet and serves on the board of directors. Miller was a founding director and Vice Chairman of the Center for Excellence in Non-profits. He is a Founder and Chairman of Nanostellar, Inc, and a Founder and Chairman of Luminette, Inc.

Miller is a Life Member of the National Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Life Fellow of IEEE, a Member of the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame, and a Member of the Jr. Achievement Business Hall of Fame. He received the Okawa Prize in 2000 and the Dongbaeg Medal from the Republic of Korea in 2000. He is an Honorary Professor at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. He received the David Packard Civic Entrepreneur Award in 2008. In 2009 Konkuk University in Seoul Korea opened the William F. Miller School of Management of Technology. Miller became Honorary Dean.

Professor Miller holds the following degrees from Purdue University: BS (Physics), 1949; MS (Physics), 1951; PhD (Physics), 1956; and a DSc Honorary, 1972.

Academic Degrees

  • DSc (Hon.), Purdue University, 1972
  • PhD in Physics, Purdue University, 1956
  • MS Physics, Purdue University, 1951
  • BS in Physics, Purdue University, 1949

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1965, Emeritus since 1997
  • Vice President and Provost, Stanford University, 1971-1978

Professional Experience

  • CEO, David Sarnoff Research Center, Inc., 1987-1990
  • CEO, SRI Development Company Inc., 1982-1990
  • President and CEO, SRI International, 1979-1990
  • Director, Applied Mathematics Division, Argonne National Laboratory, 1956-1964

Awards and Honors

  • David Packard Civic Entrepreneur Award, Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network and the Packard Foundation, 2008
  • Okawa Medal and Prize, The Okawa Foundation, 2000
  • Dongbaeg Medal, Republic of Korea, 2000


Journal Articles

William F. Miller. International Journal of Technology Management. 2004, Vol. 28, Issue 3-6, Pages 324 - 335.
William F. Miller. Jahrbuch Telekommunikation und Gesellschaft. Heidelberg: Hüthig Verlag, 2000.
Doug Henton, John Melville, William F. Miller, Kim Walesh. Mexico and the World Webjournal. University De Guadalajara, 1998, Vol. 2, Issue 4.


Henry S. Rowen, William F. Miller, Marguerite Gong Hancock Stanford: Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, 2008.
William F. Miller, Henry S. Rowen, Marguerite Gong Hancock Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2007.
Chong-Moon Lee, William F. Miller, Marguerite Gong Hancock, Henry S. Rowen Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000.

Service to the Profession

  • Advisor, Presidio Venture Partners, LLC
  • Chairman of the Board, Sentius Corporation
  • Chairman of the Board Emeritus, Borland Software Corp.
  • Trustee, Cheetah Conservation Fund USA
  • Zhejiang University, Honorary Professor

In the Media

Stanford News, November 25, 2012
Study shows Stanford alumni create nearly $3 trillion in economic impact each year.
The Voice of Experience
Fast Company, May 2001
Creating a High-Tech Habitat
San Jose Mercury News, October 2000

Insights by Stanford Business

October 15, 2003
Increases in executive compensation, jumps in incentives to manage earnings, and shifts in auditing firm structure contributed to governance failures.

School News

September 13, 2011
Core activities of Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship include global interdisciplinary research, seminars, conferences.