Larry Smarr is the founding director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), a University of California San Diego/UC Irvine partnership. He holds the Harry E. Gruber professorship in the Jacobs School’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UCSD.
For the previous 20 years, he was a professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. There in 1985 he was founding director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and helped drive major developments in the planetary information infrastructure: the Internet, the Web, scientific visualization, virtual reality, and global telepresence.
During his career, he also has pursued basic research in general relativity, computational and observational astronomy, the computer science of large-scale optical networks, and data science analysis of the human microbiome. Over the last 15 years Smarr has been principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on five NSF-funded cyberinfrastructure projects, as well as PI of the Moore Foundation-funded global CAMERA marine microbial metagenomics computational repository.
He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, as well as a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2006 he received the IEEE Computer Society Tsutomu Kanai Award for his lifetime achievements in distributed computing systems. In 2014 he received the Golden Goose Award recognizing how his federally funded research has had significant human and economic benefits. His personal interests include growing orchids, snorkeling coral reefs, and quantifying the state of his body.