New CSE Faculty Member Amy Ousterhout Races Ahead

Jan 25, 2023
New CSE professor Amy Ousterhout

By Kimberley Clementi

It’s been said that slow and steady wins the race. But high performers like Amy Ousterhout, a new assistant professor in UC San Diego’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, set a pace few can match – whether she’s navigating the fast-track in academia or a high-speed bike race on the weekend.

Ousterhout joined UC San Diego’s CSE department by way of UC Berkeley where she was a postdoctoral researcher in the NetSys Lab. Prior to that, she earned her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her BSE in Computer Science from Princeton University.  Her CV includes prestigious awards like a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Irwin Mark Jacobs and Joan Klein Jacobs Presidential Fellowship. She has also been invited to speak at Stanford Net Seminar and Harvard University.

While the line-up of top-ranked schools and achievements is impressive, for Ousterhout it’s not about collecting feathers in her cap. She is laser focused on ground-breaking research and making a lasting contribution to computer science.

That’s what brought Ousterhout to UC San Diego. She wanted to join a team of world-class researchers in an environment where ideas and discoveries are shared. The CSE department’s reputation fit the bill perfectly. In Ousterhout’s own research area, systems and networking (Sysnet), the university has eight faculty members who work collaboratively.

Within the broader Sysnet category, Ousterhout is primarily interested in operating systems and networks in datacenters. Her research focuses on improving efficiency of applications in datacenters while maintaining fast response times and supporting high request rates.

“My goal is to enable datacenter applications to achieve the same high performance while using fewer CPUs [central processing units], less memory or less energy,” said Ousterhout. “My hope is that, by making datacenters more efficient, I can contribute to the important goal of combating climate change.”

In addition to teaching and leading research teams, Ousterhout looks forward to recruiting and mentoring her own PhD students and believes, as a new faculty member, she can relate to their experiences.

“I gave a talk in October to CSE grad students about the process of applying for academic jobs, since I just went through the process myself,” said Ousterhout.
Beyond academia Ousterhout is also an avid cyclist.  Here again, there are no half measures.

Ousterhout was women’s road captain for the MIT Cycling Team and a member of the Back Bay and Berkeley bicycle clubs. On any given day, you might find her summiting some of San Diego’s most renown peaks – places like Mt. Soledad and Double Peak – and her sights are set on Mount Laguna and Palomar Mountain.