Jeremy Elson's Life Story

The Short Version

In May 2003, I graduated from UCLA with a Ph.D. in Computer Science. Since then, I have continued working with my advisor as in a postdoc-ish staff researcher position at UCLA, in the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing. At some point in the next year I'll be looking for tenure-track faculty positions in computer science. My work and research interests lie primarily in networking: distributed and collaborative systems, and protocol design; with some software engineering thrown in so that I can implement these things.

I grew up in Bethesda, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, DC), where I lived until I moved to Baltimore in Fall of 1991 to attend Johns Hopkins University. My original plan was to go into medicine, but I eventually became disenchanted with the idea. I had been using and programming computers as a hobby ever since I was a child, but in college I learned to appreciate CS theory. I realized that I had real aptitude for computer science and decided it was something that I'd really enjoy as a real career, not just a hobby.

Hopkins wasn't typically considered to be among the very best CS schools at the time, but I think that I got an absolutely first class CS education there. My studies encompassed a wide variety of topics with an excellent balance of theoretical and practical training -- something which unfortunately seems pretty rare these days. I became fascinated by computer networks and started to ravenously consume all of the information I could find on the subject: the inner workings of LANs and WANs, network protocols and algorithms, and methods of writing network software (distributed and collaborative systems). I also was involved in various research projects on campus, and did a lot of teaching for the CS department's C and C++ classes.

I took a semester's leave of absence in Spring of 1995 because of the unexpected sudden growth of my somewhat whimsical company, Scholastic Matchmakers, and returned to Hopkins for a 5th year in Fall of 1995. I graduated in May of 1996, then took 3 months off to live in Jerusalem, Israel. There, I learned modern Hebrew at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in their Immersion Ulpan program.

After returning to the U.S. in September of 1996, I went to work full time at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. (I was certainly not new to NIH, having worked there every summer from 1990 to 1995 on various projects that integrate medicine and computers.) My work at the NIH was really interesting, but after a while I began to miss the academic life--both learning and teaching. I decided to go back to school, and applied to Ph.D. programs in computer science.

I finally decided on the University of Southern California where I started studies in Fall of 1998 in their computer science department. Specifically, I was working jointly (as most USC network students do) in the Computer Network and Distributed Systems Laboratory and USC's famous Information Sciences Institute under the direction of Prof. Deborah Estrin. (I also was able to scratch my teaching itch---at least temporarily---as the TA for USC's Operating Systems class.) I received an M.S. in Computer Science from USC in December of 1999.

In the summer of 2000, my advisor decided to move from USC to the CS department at University of California, Los Angeles. 6 of her graduate students went with her (including me); those who were very close to graduation stayed at USC. All of us continue to do joint research back at ISI. Unfortunately there is quite a rivalry between USC and UCLA in this small town of Los Angeles. Not having grown up here, I was mostly oblivious to it at first. But, crossing from USC to UCLA (and maintaining an affiliation with both) has been an interesting experience. I sometimes mess up and wear the wrong sweatshirt; this does not go over well.

My research is mostly centered around coordination and synchronization algorithms for massive-scale networks of small, low-powered devices ("sensornets" or "micronets"). Check out my work page for more details.

When I'm not working...

So much of this site is devoted to my technical or work-related life that I decided it was a good idea to spend a page or two describing other things that I do, too.

Active Hobbies

Occasional Hobbies

Past Hobbies

The Somewhat Longer Version

If you're interested, you can read a somewhat longer, more detailed version of my life story. (It's not done yet, though... sorry!)

Back to my home page

Last updated 25 June 2003