Boon Thau Loo is the RCA Professor in the Computer and Information Science (CIS) department at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a secondary appointment in the Electrical and Systems Engineering (ESE) department. He is also the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, where he oversees all academic and admissions operations for doctoral, master’s and professional programs (on-campus and online) at Penn Engineering. He leads the NetDB@Penn research team, and is also currently the director of the Distributed Systems Laboratory (DSL), an inter-disciplinary systems research lab bringing together researchers in networking, distributed systems, and security. He received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 2006. Prior to his Ph.D., he received his M.S. degree from Stanford University in 2000, and his B.S. degree with highest honors from University of California-Berkeley in 1999. His research focuses on distributed data management systems, Internet-scale query processing, and the application of data-centric techniques and formal methods to the design, analysis and implementation of networked systems. He was awarded the 2006 David J. Sakrison Memorial Prize for the most outstanding dissertation research in the Department of EECS at University of California-Berkeley, and the 2007 ACM SIGMOD Dissertation Award. He is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award (2009), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award (2012), Penn’s Emerging Inventor of the year award (2018), the Ruth and Joel Spira award for Excellence in Teaching (2021), and the University Lindback award for distinguished teaching (2022). He has published 160+ peer reviewed publications and has graduated sixteen Ph.D. students and three postdocs. His graduated doctoral students and postdocs include three tenured professors, four current tenure-track professors, and winners of five dissertation awards.
As Associate Dean, he has launched several new initiatives, including launching the Penn Engineering Online office, the accelerated master’s program, annual graduate students awards, Dean’s Doctoral fellowship, Dean’s master’s fellowship, the bridge-to-Ph.D. master’s fellowships for under-resourced minority students, MCIT Online (first Ivy League fully online master’s degree program in computer science for non-computer science majors), MSE-DS (online data science master’s program), lifelong learning for alums via Penn Engineering online, school-wide professional development course for master’s students, semester-long academic field studies for master’s students, and technology bootcamps on cybersecurity and data science in collaboration with Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies for mid-career professionals in the greater Philadelphia area.
In addition to his academic work, he actively participates in entrepreneurial activities and has co-founded two technology companies that were successfully acquired. He was the co-founder and Chief Scientist at Termaxia, a software-defined energy-efficient big data storage startup based in Philadelphia that he started in 2015. Termaxia was acquired five years later in 2020 by Frontiir, one of the fastest growing technology companies in Southeast-Asia. He currently serves as Frontiir’s executive advisor to the CEO and CTO. Prior to Termaxia, he was the founding CEO of Gencore Systems (Netsil) in 2014, a cloud microservices analytics company that spun out of his research team at Penn, commercializing his research on the Scalanytics declarative analytics platform. The company was acquired by a public cloud company Nutanix Inc in 2018. He has also published several papers with industry partners (e.g AT&T, HP Labs, Intel, Microsoft, Perspecta Labs, Raytheon BBN) applying research on real-world systems that result in production deployment and patents.