David W Allan – IEEE Joseph F. Keithley Award

David W AllanLast Wednesday, 23 May 2018, David W. Allan received the IEEE Joseph F. Keithley Award in Instrumentation and Measurement at the International Frequency  Control Symposium in Squaw Creek, CA.  The citation read, “for leadership in time determination and precise timing instruments.”

Atomic Clocks

Keeping time, or more precisely, keeping accurate time, has been the focus of David W. Allan’s career. He developed a device to automatically remove systematic timing errors from quartz-crystal oscillators used for generating the United States’ official time. He also created a dual-mixer time-difference measurement system with sub-pico-second precision for comparing atomic clocks.

GPS Receiver

His group developed a GPS common-view timing receiver, which has been used to transfer time from timing centers around the world to the International Bureau of Weights and Measures for generating coordinated universal time (UTC) as the world’s official time. This receiver was also used in synchronizing the NASA/JPL Deep Space Network high precision clocks.  His “smart-clock” method for enhancing GPS civil signals has been instrumental in synchronizing cell phone towers. The Allan Variance, Modified Allan Variance, and the Time Variance, which he developed, have become international standards for designing and constructing time and frequency equipment for systems like GPS, navigation, and telecommunication.


At an international conference in New Orleans, he was also the recipient of the 2016 IEEE Achievement Award for his seminal work regarding time determination, time prediction, time dissemination, and timekeeping. The widely used Allan variance, a measure of frequency stability in clocks, oscillators and other applications, is named after him. A special session was held at the conference celebrating 50 Years of the Allan Variance, and a special issue of the conference with several papers was published showing the significance of his work.  For most of his 32 years in Boulder, Colorado, he was the nation’s timekeeper.  He knows man’s time is an invention of man’s devices.  For him, God’s TIME is what counts the most, and for those interested he has given a fascinating lecture on where we are in God’s TIME.

IEEE Life Senior Member

An IEEE Life Senior Member, David Allan is president of Allan’s TIME, Fountain Green, UT, USA.  For David, he is pleased that his work has been useful, and he feels like he has been able to stand on the shoulders over his career path.  But mostly, he desires to give the credit to His Creator for the inspiration in his work.  He has written his recent book
“It’s About Time”, as an effort to bring harmony between science and religion and to work toward harmony among all people.  He knows the Christ who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” and his main motivation is to share the TRUTH to help the world be a better place.

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