Boon Thau Loo is the RCA Professor of artificial intelligence 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 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) and Penn’s Emerging Inventor of the year award (2018). He has published 140+ peer reviewed publications and has supervised twelve Ph.D. dissertations. His graduated Ph.D. students include two tenured professors, one tenure-track professor, and four winners of dissertation awards.
As Associate Dean, he has launched several new initiatives, including the accelerated master’s program, annual master’s students awards, Dean’s master’s fellowship for underrepresented students, MCIT Online (first Ivy League fully online master’s degree program in computer science for non-computer science majors), and technology bootcamps in collaboration with Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies for mid-career professionals in the Philadelphia greater area.
In addition to his academic work, he actively participates in entrepreneurial activities and have co-founded two technology companies that were successfully acquired. He was the co-founder and Chief Scientist at Termaxia, a software-defined 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 and helped establish Frontiir’s Philadelphia R&D center. 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.