Santa Clara University

SCU Engineering News

Ahmed Amer joins Computer Engineering Faculty


The newest member of computer engineering’s faculty, Ahmed Amer, loves to solve fun puzzles, and he puts his expertise to work solving problems of data, resource, and energy management within what he calls “the simplified world of the computer.”

At the American University in Cairo, Amer became interested in operating system software and distributed storage systems. “The goal of the operating system,” he said, “is to give more with less resources, giving you the best performance you can get with your hardware.” And, he adds, with his own brand of humor, “It lies about things for you, hides the ugly truth, makes things look as good as they can be without you doing the work to make it so.”

Amer’s work as an IT infrastructure expert handling “ridiculously large volumes of data” for a Shell Oil company sparked an interest in data storage that eventually led to his Ph.D. research in predictive data access at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “We predict the future; honest, we’re not kidding!,” he jokes when asked about his work designing algorithms that can select the right piece out of the myriad pieces of data that might be requested of the operating system.

These days, the amiable professor is turning his attention to solving the problem of energy management with regard to computing. “Data centers and computers use lots of energy, and that usage can be manipulated through software. I am interested in how operating systems techniques can be applied to, and benefit from, our future management of energy - it’s generation, transportation, and storage. I am particularly curious to learn what our experiences with the world of computing systems can tell us about improving energy management in the real world,” he said.

Now, that’s a puzzle worth solving!