Margo Seltzer

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Margo Ilene Seltzer
MargoSeltzer 2012.jpg
Margo Seltzer in 2012
Born Upstate New York
Residence USA
Citizenship American
Nationality American
Fields Computer Systems
Institutions Harvard University
Alma mater

University of California, Berkeley

Harvard University
Doctoral advisor Michael Stonebraker

Margo Ilene Seltzer (born in upstate New York) is a professor and researcher in computer systems. Currently she is the Herchel Smith Professor of Computer Science (full professor) in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, where she is active in the Systems Research Group.[1]


Seltzer received an A.B. degree in Applied Mathematics from Harvard/Radcliffe College in 1983. In 1992, she received her Ph. D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.[2] Her dissertation was titled ‘‘File System Performance and Transaction Support’’ and was advised by Michael Stonebraker.[3]


Margo began her path to professorship in 1992 when she became an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Harvard and then an Associate Professor in 1997. She was named Gordon McKay Professor, becoming the first female junior faculty member to be promoted to a position of tenure in 2000. She was featured in a Crimson editorial titled "Seltzer's Deserved Tenure" [4] since only 13% of tenured positions at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are held by women. From 2002 to 2006, she was also Associate Dean. Her work in log-structured file systems, databases, and wide-scale caching is especially well known, and she was lead author of the BSD-LFS paper.[5] This paper however, received some critique.[6][7]


Seltzer was CTO of Sleepycat Software (developers of the Berkeley DB embedded database) prior to that firm's acquisition by Oracle in 2006. She served as an architect on the Oracle Berkeley DB team for a few years before transferring to Oracle Labs where she continues to serve as an architect.

Professional Activities[edit]

Seltzer was a director of USENIX for 8 years, vice president for one year and is currently the president of the USENIX association. In 2011 she was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.[8] Seltzer is also an active advisor to the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Computer Science. [9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Margo I. Seltzer". Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2013. Margo I. Seltzer is the Herchel Smith Professor of Computer Science and a Harvard College Professor in the Harvard's Schooll [sic] of Engineering and Applied Sciences. 
  2. ^ Seltzer, Margo Ilene (1993). "Margo Seltzer". Harvard University. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Seltzer, Margo Ilene (1993). "File system performance and transaction support". Oskicat. University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Harvard SEAS Diversity
  5. ^ Seltzer, Margo; Keith Bostic; Marshall Kirk Mckusick; Carl Staelin (1993). "An implementation of a log-structured file system for UNIX" (PDF). Proceedings of the USENIX Winter 1993 Conference Proceedings on USENIX Winter 1993. USENIX. pp. 3––3. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Ousterhout, John. "A Critique of Seltzer's 1993 USENIX Paper". Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Ousterhout, John. "A Critique of Seltzer's LFS Measurements". Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  8. ^ ACM: Fellows Award / Margo Seltzer
  9. ^ Harvard Women in CS Homepage

External links[edit]