Gaetano Borriello

Our friend and colleague Gaetano Borriello passed away on February 1, 2015 after a long battle with cancer. Read our tribute to Gaetano here. To honor his dedication to students, to our department, and to research that has global impact, UW CSE established the Gaetano Borriello Endowed Fellowship for Change to support UW students who use technology to improve the lives of underserved populations.

Professor Gaetano Borriello holds the Jerre D. Noe Chair of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington.  He joined the Department in 1988 and holds a PhD in CS from the University of California at Berkeley (1988) and an MS in EE from Stanford University (1981). He was a member of the research staff at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center from 1980-87.  From 2001-2003, he was on leave from UW to found the Intel Research laboratory in Seattle which quickly became one of the premier research labs for work in ubiquitous computing.

Prof. Borriello’s career began in the areas of integrated circuits for networking, automatic synthesis of digital circuits, reconfigurable hardware, and embedded systems development tools.  In 1999, he was PI for the Portolano Expedition, a DARPA-sponsored investigation on invisible computing that led to the creation of Labscape, a smart environment to record and assist the work of researchers in cell biology laboratories.  In 2001, as director of Intel Research Seattle, he set in motion projects in elder care (sensor-rich homes and wearable devices) to help elders stay in their own homes longer, and in location-aware computing (the PlaceLab project) using Wi-Fi to enhance location sensing that is now the dominant approach in use by Apple, Google, Microsoft, and many others.

More recently, Prof. Borriello is directing efforts in applying mobile and sensor technologies to the problems of public health and development in low-resource settings.  His group's open-source mobile data collection tools, Open Data Kit, are in use on six continents in programs ranging across public health, documentation of human rights violations, and environmental monitoring.

He is a Fellow of the ACM and IEEE, a Fulbright Scholar, and a recipient of the UW Distinguished Teaching Award and Landolt Graduate Mentor Award. He was also named a distinguished alumni at UC Berkeley’s CS Division.


Research Interests

  • Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD)
    • Data collection using mobile devices and aggregation in the cloud
    • Data visualization on mobile devices
    • Sensor systems interfaces to mobile devices
  • Ubiquitous Computing
    • Location-aware computing
    • Sensor-based activity inferencing
    • Tangible user interfaces
    • Multi-modal user interfaces
    • Mobile computing
  • Sensor Systems
    • Radio-frequency identification tags
    • Sensor networks and infrastructure for sensors
    • Automatic device association


  • Program committees of Dev-5 and ICTD'15
  • Co-general chair of Mobisys'15