Lawrence (Larry) W. Dowdy                

Professor of Computer Science and Computer Engineering

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
School of Engineering
Vanderbilt University


Larry Dowdy obtained the B.S. degree in Mathematics from Florida State University in 1974.  He then went to Duke University where he obtained both an M.A. degree and a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1976 and 1977, respectively.

From 1978-81, Dr. Dowdy was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland at College Park.  Since 1981, he has been a faculty member at Vanderbilt University in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.  In 1987-88, he spent a sabbatical year at the Institut für Informatik at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany.  From 1995-98, he served as the Chair of the Computer Science Department.  Professor Dowdy served as Vanderbilt's Dean of Students from 1998-2001.  During 2002-03, he was on sabbatical (pictures) at the University of Leeds, England, in the School of Computing.

Professor Dowdy is a member of the IFIP Working Group 7.3, an international group of researchers in the area of performance measurement and modeling of computer systems.  Within the past, Dr. Dowdy has served as the Chair of SIGMETRICS and has served as the senior editor of the "Performance Supplement" project, a joint project sponsored by ACM SIGMETRICS and the Computer Measurement Group (CMG).  He has co-authored three books, P.S. to Operating Systems, Capacity Planning and Performance Modeling, and Performance by Design published by Prentice Hall, and has received research, teaching, and administrative awards.  Professor Dowdy regularly teaches courses in the areas of operating systems and performance analysis.  He is also involved in the One Laptop Per Child initiative and with Engineers Without Borders.  As of 2012, he is on leave and recently spent three months in South America (blog).  

Larry and his wife, Sharon, are proud of their children David and Erin, of David's wife, Michelle, of their granddaughter, Chessie, of Erin’s husband, Matt, and of their two grandsons, Ethan and Owen.



  • Email:
  • Office Phone:    615-322-3031
  • Home Phone:    615-352-5920
  • Fax:    615-343-5459
  • Mail:    Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Station B, Box 1679, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN  37235

Topics of research:

  • Performance prediction models
  • Workload characterization
  • Multiprocessor scheduling
  • Modeling of real time systems
  • Experimental studies of parallel systems
  • Performance models of grid computing