Photograph of Ed Lazowska

  Ed Lazowska
   Bill & Melinda Gates Chair

"If you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road."

Recommended reading:

  • Why Choose CSE? (three short videos, aimed at students, describing the nature of the computer science field)
  • "Envisioning the Future of Computing Research" (invited "Viewpoint" in Communications of the ACM, 8/1/2008)
  • "eScience: Computational Science for the 21st Century" (invited lecture, Symposium in Celebration of Lee Hood on his 70th birthday, 10/10/2008)
  • The Computing Community Consortium
          -  CCC Blog (current commentary on computing research)
          -  "Computing Research Initiatives for the 21st Century" (documents prepared for the Obama transition team)
          -  "Computing Research that Changed the World: Reflections and Perspectives" (Library of Congress symposium, March 25 2009)
  • "Assessing the Impacts of Changes in the Information Technology R&D Ecosystem" (overview of a 2009 NRC CSTB report) (pdf)
  • "An Endless Frontier Postponed" (invited editorial in Science, 5/6/2005) (pdf) (additional detail here)
  • "Computing Research Funding: Circling the Wagons or Expanding the Frontiers?" (invited plenary, Computing Research Association, 6/26/2006)
  • Washington State education quiz; answers here (presentation to Seattle Neighborhood Coalition, 12/9/2006)
  • "Computer Science: Still Crazy After All These Years" (2001 University of Washington Science Forum lecture)
  • Innovation in Information Technology (NRC Computer Science & Telecommunications Board report)
  • "Sleepwalking into the 21st Century" (2002 regional affairs presentation)
  • Cyber Security: A Crisis of Prioritization (2005 PITAC report) (pdf)
  • Computing Research Association Government Affairs page
  • Quantitative System Performance: Computer System Analysis Using Queueing Network Models
  • Barriers to Equality in Academia
  • "Pale and male: 19th century design in a 21st century world" (invited editorial, Inroads (ACM SIGCSE), 2002) (pdf)
  • Leadership in a University
  • John Gannon -- undergraduate, graduate, and professional friend and colleague -- June 12 1999
  • Bob Wallace -- friend since high school, employee #9 at Microsoft, inventor of shareware -- September 20 2002
  • Jill Bennett -- friend since 1985, helped build UW CSE through ties with DEC -- July 14 2004
  • Ken Sevcik -- graduate advisor, mentor, friend, and wonderful human being -- October 4 2005
  • Jerre Noe -- first Chair, and cultural direction-setter, of UW Computer Science & Engineering -- November 12 2005
  • Denice Denton -- UW Dean of Engineering, 1996-2005; a strong voice for social justice, diversity, and excellence -- June 24 2006
  • Richard Newton -- visionary Dean of Engineering at Berkeley and fellow member of the Microsoft Research TAB -- January 2 2007
  • Jim Gray -- using computer science to make scientists more productive -- missing January 28 2007
  • Ken Kennedy -- leading figure in high-performance computing, and good friend for more than 25 years -- February 7 2007
  • Randy Pausch -- fellow Brown alumnus and member of DARPA ISAT; HCI visionary -- July 25 2008

    Drumheller Fountain, looking south
    towards Mt. Rainier
    University of Washington photo
    Ed Lazowska holds the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington.

    Lazowska received his A.B. from Brown University in 1972 and his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1977, when he joined the University of Washington faculty.

    Lazowska's research and teaching concern the design, implementation, and analysis of high-performance computing and communication systems. For the first ten years of his career, Lazowska's principal focus was computer system performance: the development of effective performance evaluation techniques, and the use of these techniques to gain insight about significant computer systems and computer system design issues. Lazowska then turned his attention to the design and implementation of distributed and parallel computer systems - work that yielded a number of widely-embraced approaches to kernel and system design in areas such as thread management, high-performance local and remote communication, load sharing, cluster computing, and the effective use of the underlying architecture by the operating system. Current research includes information technology to support sustainable rural development, data architecture for the Ocean Observatories Initiative, control theory applied to computer system management, and evolving a broad research agenda in Network Science & Engineering. Twenty Ph.D. students and 23 M.S. students have completed degrees working with him.

    Paul G. Allen Center for
    Computer Science & Engineering
    Lara Swimmer photo
    Lazowska is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a Member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was selected to deliver the 1996 University of Washington Annual Faculty Lecture, and to receive the 1998 University of Washington Outstanding Public Service Award. He chaired UW Computer Science & Engineering from 1993-2001; under his leadership, CSE received the inaugural University of Washington Brotman Award for Instructional Excellence, four CSE faculty members were recognized with the University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award, one with the University of Washington Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award, and eight with Sloan Research Fellowships. Along with Tom Alberg (Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group) and Jeremy Jaech (CSE alumnus and co-founder of Aldus, Visio, and Trumba) he led the fundraising campaign for a new building for CSE, the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering, which was dedicated in 2003. In 2000 Lazowska was named the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair, and included in the BAM 100 -- "the one hundred Brown University alumni who arguably had the greatest impact, for good or for ill [they didn't say which], on the twentieth century." In 2003 President Bush named him to co-chair the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee. (In 2005 President Bush abolished the committee, presumably for insubordination.) Even more incongruously, in 2004 Seattle magazine profiled him as one of "Seattle's 25 most influential people." In 2005 he received the Computing Research Association Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service to the computing research community, and the ACM Presidential Award from the Association for Computing Machinery "for showing us how to advocate effectively for IT research and advanced education." In 2007 he received the University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering Undergraduate Teaching Award.

    Spring in the Humanities Quadrangle
    University of Washington photo
    Lazowska has undertaken a significant public service role. From 1992-2004 he served on the Board of Directors of the Computing Research Association (CRA's members are the graduate departments and industrial research laboratories in the field). He served as Chair of the CRA Board from 1997-2001, and as Co-Chair or Vice-Chair of CRA's Government Affairs Committee from 2001 to the present. He chaired the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Information Science And Technology (ISAT) study group from 2004-06, and served as a member from 1998-2007. He chaired the Peer Committee for Section 5 (Computer Science & Engineering) of the National Academy of Engineering from 2004-05, was Vice Chair of Section 5 in 2006, and Chair in 2007. He served for six years on the National Research Council's Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, and served on the NRC Committee on Assessing the Impacts of Changes in the Information Technology Research and Development Ecosystem, Committee on Improving Learning with Information Technology (additional workshop report here), and Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism - Panel on Information Technology (full multi-disciplinary NRC report here), as well as contributing extensively to the creation of the CSTB summary report Innovation in Information Technology; he currently serves on the Committee on Management of University Intellectual Property. From 1995-2000 he served on (and in 1998 and 1999 he chaired) the National Science Foundation's Advisory Committee for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. Currently he is the Chair of the Computing Community Consortium, an NSF-sponsored effort to engage the computing research community in envisioning more audacious research challenges. He is a member of the Technical Advisory Boards for Microsoft Research, Voyager Capital, Ignition, Madrona Venture Group, Impinj, and Conenza, and, until recently, of the Board of Directors of Data I/O Corporation and Intrepid Learning Solutions. He is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Washington Technology Industry Association (formerly the Washington Software Alliance), the Technology Alliance of Washington, the Washington Digital Learning Commons, and the Washington State Academy of Sciences, as well as serving on the Washington State Information Services Board, in connection with which he was recognized in 2002 by Government Technology magazine as a member of the inaugural "GT 25" national leaders of information technology in state goverment. He is a member of the Executive Advisory Council of the National Center for Women and Information Technology.

    Suzzallo Library
    University of Washington photo
    In past years, Lazowska served as a member (and 1999-2000 Chair) of ACM's A.M. Turing Award selection committee, as a member of the ACM Council, as a member of the NSF 50th Anniversary Public Advisory Committee, as a member of the National Research Council panel that reviewed the multi-agency High Performance Computing and Communications program (the "Brooks/Sutherland Committee"), as a member of the NRC committee on Research Horizons in Networking, as Chair of the Committee of Examiners for the Graduate Record Examinations Board Computer Science Test, as Chair of ACM SIGMETRICS (the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group concerned with computer system performance), as Chair of the ACM Software System Award Committee, as Program Chair of the 13th ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, and as editor of IEEE Transactions on Computers. He has recently served on standing advisory committees for the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Departments of Computer Science at the University of Virginia (which he currently chairs), Princeton University, and the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, and the Program in Informatics of the National College of Ireland, and has chaired external review committees for the computer science programs at Rice University, the University of Virginia, Princeton University, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as for the statistics program at the University of Washington. At the University of Washington, in addition to serving as Chair of Computer Science & Engineering from 1993-2001, Lazowska has served as Chair of the University Advisory Committee on Academic Technology, as Chair of the review committee for the Department of Statistics, as a member of the Futures Committee for the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences, as a member of the Committee on the Deanship of the College of Arts and Sciences, as Chair of the review committee for the Ph.D. program in Molecular Biotechnology, and as a member of the performance review committee for the Dean of Engineering. Currently he serves as a member of the University Technology Advisory Committee, the Information Technology Advisory Committee, the Information School Founding Board, the Schidler Center for Law, Commerce & Technology Advisory Board, and the UW Tacoma Institute of Technology Advisory Board. He recently concluded a 3-year term as a Trustee of Seattle's Lakeside School.

    Lazowska spent 1984-85 on sabbatical at the DEC Systems Research Center and Stanford University, and 2001-02 on sabbatical at the University of California, San Diego. The UCSD Computer Science & Engineering faculty includes seven UW CSE Ph.D. alumni and one UW CSE B.S. alumnus on the faculty -- see a wonderful photo here.

    The Space Needle
    Space Needle photo

    Current research:
  • Information technology to support sustainable rural development
  • Data architecture for the Ocean Observatories Initiative
  • The GENI initiative
  • Recent courses:

  • Winter 2009: Scalable Systems: Design, Implementation and Use of Large Scale Clusters - Capstone Projects (undergraduate)
  • Autumn 2008: Scalable Systems: Design, Implementation and Use of Large Scale Clusters (undergraduate)
  • Winter 2007: Operating Systems (undergraduate)
  • Autumn 2006: History of Computing (graduate, with UC Berkeley, UCSD)
  • Winter 2006: Operating Systems (undergraduate)
  • Autumn 2005: Homeland Security / Cyber Security (graduate, with UC Berkeley, UCSD)
  • Spring 2005: Operating Systems (undergraduate)
  • Autumn 2004: Information Technology & Public Policy (graduate, with UC Berkeley, UCSD)
  • Spring 2004: Operating Systems (graduate)
  • Winter 2004: Operating Systems (undergraduate)

    Professional information:
  • One paragraph biography
  • Abbreviated CV
  • Longer prose biography
  • Photographs
  • Graduate brochure biography
  • UW CSE links:

  • New UW CSE building -- the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering
  • UW CSE news items
  • An integrated overview of the University of Washington, the Department, and the region
  • Support UW CSE!
  • Why Choose CSE? (three wonderful student recruiting videos)

    No comment ...

  • On entrepreneurship
  • On education
  • On fundraising
  • On office space
  • On organizations
  • On why we teach
  • On the value of tranquility
  • On the nation's leadership
  • On the conduct of research
  • On words to live by
  • President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, 2003-05

  • Revolutionizing Health Care Through Information Technology (PITAC report, July 2004) (pdf)
  • Cyber Security: A Crisis of Prioritization (PITAC report, February 2005) (pdf)
  • Computational Science: Ensuring America's Competitiveness (PITAC report, June 2005) (pdf)

    Talks, etc:

  • Testimony to the House Committee on Government Reform (2004) (pdf)
  • "Sleepwalking into the 21st Century" (2002 regional affairs presentation)
  • "Pale and male: 19th century design in a 21st century world" (invited editorial, Inroads (ACM SIGCSE), 2002) (pdf)
  • "The Ph.D. Job Hunt -- Helping Students Find the Right Positions" (invited article, Computing Research News, 2002)
  • "Computer Science: Still Crazy After All These Years" (2001 University of Washington Science Forum lecture)
  • Computing Research Association declaration in Felten et al. v. RIAA et al., 2001
  • Computing Research: Driving Information Technology and the Information Industry Forward
  • "The Impact of a Research University: An Information Technology Perspective"
  • "UW CSE: At the center of change"
  • "A Half Century of Exponential Progress in Information Technology: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How" (1996 University of Washington Annual Faculty Lecture)
  • "Telecommunications: Challenges and Opportunities" (presentation to the legislative retreat of the Technology Alliance of Washington, September 1997)
  • "Cool Computing: Learning and Doing in the Digital Age" (University of Washington "Frontiers Lecture," April 1997).
  • "Driver's Ed for the Information Highway" (University of Washington "Saturday Seminar," November 1995)
  • Testimony to the House Appropriations Committee concerning NSF, April 1995
  • Testimony to the House Science Committee concerning HPCC, October 1995
  • Vice President Gore's speech at the ENIAC 50th anniversary celebration, February 1996

    Winter Sunset on Mt. Rainier
    Mt. Rainier National Park
    Dan Weld photo

  • The many faces of spam (pdf) (2006 CSE holiday party skit prop)
  • University of California at Berkeley invents Chinese cooking!
  • Nathan Myhrvold joins Ed Lazowska and the UW CSE faculty on a trip down memory lane
  • CSE Holiday Party before political correctness swept over us
  • John Guttag and Ed Lazowska study construction management in Dublin as MIT and UW launch new CS construction projects
  • Lazowska's second published paper (the first is lost to the ages, and not as funny) (pdf)
  • Recently-discovered review of my now-20-something son's 6th grade poetry
  • "Real Dawgs Wear Purple"
  • My University of Toronto graduate school office (W. David Elliott, Phil Cohen, Ed Lazowska, James Allen; ~1975)

    Contact Information:

    Ed Lazowska
    Computer Science & Engineering
    University of Washington
    Box 352350
    Seattle, WA 98195-2350

    Room 570, Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering (directions, map)

    (206) 543-4755 work
    (206) 543-2969 work FAX
    (206) 789-0477 home
    (206) 783-9137 home FAX

    lazowska at
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