Professor at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.
Willy Zwaenepoel was Dean of the School of Computer and Communication Sciences at EPFL from 2002 to 2011. Before that, he was Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Rice University. He received his BS from the University of Gent, Belgium, and his MS and PhD from Stanford University.
His research interests are in operating systems and distributed systems. He has won a number of awards for his teaching and research, including IEEE and ACM Fellow. He was co-founder and CEO of iMimic (acquired by Ironport/Cisco) and co-founder and chief scientist of BugBuster (acquired by AppDynamics). He has been an advisor to a number of other startups, including Nutanix (NTNX).
Title: How to builzd a top-X department – advice for aspiring department heads
Every department head dreams about getting his school or department in the top-X. Many write elaborate strategic plans on how they will achieve that goal.Alas, the harsh reality is that very few succeed.
When I joined EPFL as head of computer science in 2002, like most beginners, I set myself the goal of making EPFL a top-5 department in Europe. I believe that we have succeeded, and arguably wedid even better than that. I will explain what worked in doing so and what did not. In the process I also hope to dispense some (non-conformist) advice to aspiring department heads.