David Ross Cheriton (born March 29, 1951) is a Canadian computer scientist, mathematician, businessman, philanthropist, and venture capitalist. He is a computer science professor at Stanford University, where he founded and leads the Distributed Systems Group.
He is a distributed systems and networking expert, with keen insight into identifying big market opportunities and building the architectures needed to address these opportunities. He has founded and invested in technology companies, including Google, where he was amongst the first investors; VMware, where he was an early angel investor; and Arista, where he was co-founder and chief scientist. Cheriton funded at least 20 companies.
Cheriton was ranked by Forbes with an estimated net worth of US$5.9 billion (as of January 2019). Cheriton has made generous contributions to education, with a $25 Million donation to support graduate studies and research in the School of Computer Science (subsequently named after him) at the University of Waterloo, a $7.5 million donation to the University of British Columbia, and a $12 million endowment in 2016 to Stanford University to support Computer Science faculty, graduate fellowships, and undergraduate scholarships.