Larry Smarr

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Larry Smarr
Larry Smarr - Alliance98.jpg
Larry Smarr viewing an ImmersaDesk
Larry Lee Smarr

(1948-10-16)October 16, 1948
Alma materUniversity of Missouri
University of Texas at Austin
Known forQuantified Self[1][2]
AwardsMember of the National Academy of Engineering
Fellow of the American Physical Society
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Delmer S. Fahrney Medal (1990)
Golden Goose Award (2014)
Scientific career
InstitutionsPrinceton University
Yale University
Harvard University
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of California, San Diego.
ThesisThe Structure of General Relativity with a Numerical Illustration: The Collision of Two Black Holes (1975)
InfluencedChristopher R. Johnson

Larry Lee Smarr is a physicist and leader in scientific computing, supercomputer applications, and Internet infrastructure from Missouri.[4] He currently works at the University of California, San Diego.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15] Smarr has been among the most important synthesizers and conductors of innovation, discovery, and commercialization of new technologies – including areas as disparate as the Web browser and personalized medicine.[16] In his career, Smarr has made pioneering breakthroughs in research on black holes, spearheaded the use of supercomputers for academic research, and presided over some of the major innovations that created the modern Internet. For nearly 20 years, he has been building a new model for academic research based on interdisciplinary collaboration.


Larry Smarr received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri and received a PhD in physics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1975.


After graduating, Smarr did research at Princeton, Yale, and Harvard,[17][18] and then joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1979. He is a professor of Computer Science and Information Technologies at the University of California, San Diego.

While at Illinois, Larry Smarr wrote an ambitious proposal to address the future needs of scientific research. Seven other University of Illinois professors joined as co-Principal Investigators, and many others provided descriptions of what could be accomplished if the proposal were accepted. Formally titled A Center for Scientific and Engineering Supercomputing but known as the Black Proposal (after the color of its cover), it was submitted to the National Science Foundation in 1983.[19] A scant 10 pages long, it was the first unsolicited proposal accepted and approved by the NSF, and resulted in the charter of four supercomputer centers (Cornell, Illinois, Princeton, and San Diego), with a fifth (Pittsburgh) added later. In 1985 Smarr became the first director of the Illinois center, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Smarr continued to promote the benefits of technological innovation to scientific research, such as his advocacy of a high-speed network linking the national centers, which became the NSFNET, one of the significant predecessors of today's Internet. When the NSF revised its funding of supercomputer centers in 1997, Smarr became director of the National Computational Science Alliance, linking dozens of universities and research labs with NCSA to prototype the concept of grid computing.

In 2000, Larry Smarr moved to California and proposed the creation of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), linking departments and researchers at UCSD and UC Irvine. Smarr served as Institute Director of Calit2 from its founding until his retirement in 2020.

As part of the work of Calit2, he is Principal Investigator on the NSF OptIPuter[20] LambdaGrid project, an "optical backplane for planetary scale distributed computing" and the CAMERA Project,[21] a high-performance computing resource for genomic research.[22][23]

He attended the Beyond Belief symposium in November 2006[citation needed] and presented at the 2010 and 2012 Life Extension Conferences.[24]

Since 2012, Larry Smarr has been engaged in a computer-aided study of his own body.[1][2][25][26]

Awards and honors[edit]

Larry Smarr has received numerous honors and awards, including:


  1. ^ a b The Measured Man
  2. ^ a b "BBC Two - Horizon, 2013-2014, Monitor Me".
  3. ^ Smarr, Larry; Catlett, Charles E. (1992). "Metacomputing". Communications of the ACM. 35 (6): 44. doi:10.1145/129888.129890.
  4. ^ "Why Larry Smarr Is Pioneering Collaborative Innovation". Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Grids in Context" in Carl Kesselman; Foster, Ian (2003). The Grid 2: Blueprint for a New Computing Infrastructure. San Diego: Morgan Kaufmann. ISBN 978-1-55860-933-4.
  6. ^ Members of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee. Information Technology Research: Investing in Our Future, a Report to the President of the United States, 1999.
  7. ^ "Extraterrestrial Computing: Exploring the Universe with a Supercomputer". Chapter 8 of Very large Scale Computation in the 21st Century, Jill P. Mesirov, ed., Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), 1991.
  8. ^ Larry Smarr. "How Supercomputers are Transforming Science," Encyclopædia Britannica Yearbook, 1991.
  9. ^ Smarr, Larry L.; Kaufmann, William J. (1993). Supercomputing and the transformation of science. New York: Scientific American Library. ISBN 978-0-7167-5038-3.
  10. ^ Larry Smarr author profile page at the ACM Digital Library
  11. ^ Larry Smarr at DBLP Bibliography Server Edit this at Wikidata
  12. ^ Internet Pioneers: Dr. Larry Smarr - How the Internet Happened
  13. ^ Larry Smarr publications indexed by Microsoft Academic
  14. ^ Larry Smarr's publications in Google Scholar
  15. ^ Larry Smarr's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  16. ^ "Why Larry Smarr Is Pioneering Collaborative Innovation".
  17. ^ Smarr, L. (1978). "Kinematical conditions in the construction of spacetime". Physical Review D. 17 (10): 2529–2551. Bibcode:1978PhRvD..17.2529S. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.17.2529.
  18. ^ Eardley, D.; Smarr, L. (1979). "Time functions in numerical relativity: Marginally bound dust collapse". Physical Review D. 19 (8): 2239. Bibcode:1979PhRvD..19.2239E. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.19.2239.
  19. ^ Smarr, Larry; et al. (1983), A Center for Scientific and Engineering Supercomputing
  20. ^ Smarr, L. L.; Chien, A. A.; Defanti, T.; Leigh, J.; Papadopoulos, P. M. (2003). "The OptIPuter". Communications of the ACM. 46 (11): 58. doi:10.1145/948383.948410. S2CID 14157550.
  21. ^ Seshadri, R.; Kravitz, S. A.; Smarr, L.; Gilna, P.; Frazier, M. (2007). "CAMERA: A Community Resource for Metagenomics". PLOS Biology. 5 (3): e75. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050075. PMC 1821059. PMID 17355175.
  22. ^ Optiputer: People
  23. ^ "CAMERA: People". Archived from the original on 29 December 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  24. ^ "Personalized Life Extension Conference 2010 - Program". Archived from the original on 21 October 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
  25. ^ Smarr, L. (2012). "Quantifying your body: A how-to guide from a systems biology perspective". Biotechnology Journal. 7 (8): 980–991. doi:10.1002/biot.201100495. PMID 22887886.
  26. ^ "BBC News - Why Professor Larry Smarr freezes his own faeces". BBC News.
  27. ^ "Black Holes and Supercomputing". The Golden Goose Award. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  28. ^ "Home".
  29. ^ "San Diego Science Festival Nifty Fifty". San Diego Science Festival. Archived from the original on 8 November 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009.