David Ross Cheriton (born March 29, 1951) is a Canadian computer scientist, mathematician, billionaire 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 computing and computer networking expert, with insight into identifying big market opportunities and building the architectures needed to address such opportunities. He has founded and invested in technology companies, including Google, where he was among the first angel investors; VMware, where he was an early investor; and Arista, where he was cofounder and chief scientist. He has funded at least 20 companies.
Cheriton was ranked by Forbes with an estimated net worth of US$8.8 billion, as of April 2021. He has made contributions to education, with a $25 million donation to support graduate studies and research in the School of Computer Science (subsequently renamed David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science) 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.