Q & A
with Dr. Shih-Lien Lu
Ph.D.: Computer Science and Engineering, UCLA
In general terms, what does your research consist of? How would you explain it to a class of freshmen?
My general interest is on making computing systems operate with lower energy, provide higher performance while being more reliable and secure. Lower energy contributes to greener environment. Higher performance enables us to solve more problems using computer. Reliability permits the computing infrastructure to be available all the time. Secure systems protect information stored and processed from unfriendly actors acquiring them. My specific research interests focus on architecting memory for the four goals on energy, performance, reliability and security.
What drew you to your field of study and to being a professor?
I went into Computer Architecture due to a professor, Dave Patterson, at Berkeley when I was an undergraduate student. Prior to taking that course I majored in electronics. The course was on Digital Design and Computer Architecture. I felt in love after the class which taught me how to design a processor from ground up and how to use it to solve problems. After graduating with a PhD degree, I wanted to do research on making better computing systems.
What have you learned from your work that surprised you?
The field of computing has progressed so rapidly in the past few decades and the need to keep up with the advancements is both challenging and attractive.
If you’ve been to campus, what’s your favorite spot on campus or in the Everett area?
I like the atrium of the WSU building. It is the place to bump into people and just hang out to chat.
What do you like to do when you’re not teaching or conducting research?
I like to explore trails. I also enjoy learning new things.
If you hadn’t gone into academia, what do you think you would have done instead?
I have spent time in both academia and industry. I love solving problems for both future research at the fore-front of computing and for more practical industrial products. If I am not in the technical field I would be a historian.
What advice do you have for new WSU computer science students?
I enjoy these two quotes:
“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.”– B.B. King
“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” – Steve Jobs
What are the most rewarding and most difficult parts of your work?
I feel most rewarded when students learn and are excited about the knowledge and skills they gain. The most challenging part of my work is thinking about ways to present ideas and insights in a easier to learn ways.
What do you think will make Voiland College a great place to teach, conduct research, and learn?
I am excited to meet new students who are excited about learning and innovation.