Larry Dowdy, emeritus computer science professor, dies

Larry Dowdy, 66, professor of computer science and computer engineering, emeritus, died Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018.

Dowdy joined the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1981. He retired as an emeritus faculty member in 2014.

Larry Dowdy

He served as chair of Vanderbilt’s Department of Computer Science from 1995 to 1998, and as Vanderbilt Dean of Students from 1998 to 2001. Dowdy spent one sabbatical year at the Institut für Informatik at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, and a second sabbatical year at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, in the School of Computing.

Dowdy served as 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. He served as chair of ACM SIGMETRICS and as the senior editor of the Performance Supplement Project, a joint project sponsored by ACM SIGMETRICS and the Computer Measurement Group.

Between 1991 and 2011, he participated in 19 Alternative Spring Break experiences with Vanderbilt students. He was involved in the One Laptop Per Child global initiative and with Engineers Without Borders organization.

Dowdy co-authored three books, P.S. to Operating Systems, Capacity Planning and Performance Modeling, and Performance by Design, published by Prentice Hall.

Dowdy numerous awards include the Tau Beta Pi Award for Teaching Excellence, the Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the Chancellor’s Cup, the Lotus Eaters and Athenians “Favorite Administrator” Award, and the School of Engineering’s Edward J. White Award for Service.

Dowdy is survived by his wife, Sharon, children David, Erin, and son-in-law, Matt, and three grandchildren.