UW News

March 30, 2006

Henry Levy to chair Computer Science & Engineering

Henry M. Levy, a longtime UW professor and expert in operating systems and computer architecture, will be the next chair of the University’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering.

Levy will replace David Notkin, who has held the position for the past five years. Levy’s first official day as chair is Saturday, April 1.

Levy said he is honored to be following in the footsteps of “an incredible set of department leaders.”

“The department is well positioned to become even stronger over the next few years, building on the advantages of the University of Washington and the possibilities created by our wonderful environment in the Allen Center,” he said. “My goal is to capitalize on these advantages to move us forward to the next level.”

Mani Soma, acting dean of the College of Engineering, called Levy a good choice to build on what is already an excellent program — the department has been consistently ranked among nation’s top 10 for more than a decade.

“We’re confident that Hank will provide the leadership to continue that tradition,” Soma said.

Notkin said he has known Levy since 1984, when Notkin joined the department. During that time, Levy has been an integral part of department culture.

“Hank helped design a building that fit our culture and our needs,” Notkin said, referring to Levy’s service as department liaison for the design and construction of the new Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering. “He’s extraordinary in terms of his research, classroom teaching and mentoring as well. My greatest hope is that he will be able to take us to the next level, and I can’t imagine anyone better than Hank to do that. He’s a wonderful guy.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in math and computer science at Carnegie Mellon University in 1974, Levy began his career at Digital Equipment Corp. There, he was a member of the company’s original design and implementation team for the VMS operating system and a systems architect for VAXclusters, one of the first clustered computer system products.

Levy earned a master’s degree in computer science from the UW in 1981 and joined the university in 1983, where he led several pioneering projects that helped lay the groundwork for modern object-oriented distributed systems and languages.

In the early 1990s, he helped develop new techniques for high-performance thread support, synchronization and communication that influenced a number of commercial operating systems. In the mid-1990s, Levy, along with UW professor Susan Eggers and their students, invented simultaneous multithreading, which allows modern processors to execute multiple instructions from multiple programs in a single computing cycle.

This technology is used in several microprocessors, including the Intel Pentium-4 and the IBM Power-5.

Levy is a fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery and of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and recipient of a Fulbright Research Scholar Award.