Larry Ruzzo

Professor, Computer Science & Engineering
Adjunct Professor, Genome Sciences
Joint Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Larry Ruzzo, Professor, received a B.S. (in Mathematics) from the California Institute of Technology in 1968, his Ph.D. (Computer Science) from the University of California at Berkeley in 1978, and has been with the University of Washington since 1977.

Currently, his principal research project involves the construction and programming of a vaguely parallel computer, consisting of 32 steam-powered Turing machines installed in the basement of Sieg Hall. Of particular interest is the use of triple-expansion bypass valves, coupled to individual governors on each engine, to achieve write-synchronization of the machines. Graduate students have played an important role in the construction and operation of the engine, particularly in stoking the boilers, and advanced undergraduates are occasionally allowed to polish the brass gauges.

Originally intended as a general computing engine, restrictions imposed by the Pollution Control and Noise Abatement Boards require that only algorithms running in polynomial time may be used. The project recently suffered another setback when one of Professor Ruzzo's graduate students slipped on a mouldering stack of ungraded homework exercises and fell under the write head of one of the machines. Now permanently embossed with a series of 1's and 0's, the student is suing to have the machine dismantled.

When not blowing off steam, he also pursues research in computational biology as part of the CSE department's Computational and Synthetic Biology Group , as well as participating in graduate training through the interdisciplinary graduate program in Computational Molecular Biology and, of course, undergraduate and graduate education in Computer Science & Engineering.