Michael D. Smith
Michael D. Smith
- John H. Finley, Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor
A member of the Faculty since 1992, Smith began his academic career pursuing innovative work on computing systems, particularly on issues involving a detailed knowledge of both the hardware and software in these sophisticated systems. His research interests included dynamic optimization, machine-specific and profile-driven compilation, high-performance computer architecture, and practical applications of security. This work helped Smith co-found the data security company Liquid Machines Inc. in 2001.
Liquid Machines' enterprise rights management products gave companies the ability to easily control and manage access to valuable documents and other digital assets. In June 2010, Liquid Machines was acquired by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., an Israeli Internet and data security company best known for its ZoneAlarm firewall software.
Beginning in July 2007, Smith put his research interests aside to lead Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. During his 11 years in the dean’s office, his leadership was characterized by a deep commitment to undergraduate teaching, to a tenure-track system, and to research, both fundamental and applied.
Smith is currently on sabbatical leave, during which he plans to explore a range of interdisciplinary activities that involve the interplay of technology with other fields, from the life sciences to business to education.
Smith received a B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University in 1983, an M.S. in electrical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1985, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1993. He began at Harvard in 1992 as an instructor and rose through the tenure-track ranks. In 1994 he received a prestigious National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, and in 1999 the Alpha Iota Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
Positions & Employment
Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
- October 2008-Present: John H. Finley, Jr. Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences
- July 2007-August 2018: Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Harvard School/Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences
- July 2005-July 2007: Associate Dean for Computer Science and Engineering
- January 2000-2008: Professor
- July 1997-December 1999: Associate Professor
- February 1993-June 1997: Assistant Professor
- December 1992-January 1993: Instructor
- October 1986-November 1992: Research Assistant
- October 1991-December 1991: Teaching Assistant and Lecturer
- October 1989-December 1989: Teaching Assistant
- July 1987-January 1, 1998: Research Intern
- March 1986-June 1986
Other Experience & Professional Membership
Member, Association for Computing Machinery
Member, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
Founder, Chief Scientist, and Chairman, Liquid Machines, Lexington, Massachusetts, January 2001-July 2007
Consultant, Kendall Square Research, Waltham, Massachusetts, April 1993-December 1993
United States Swimming Coach, Palo Alto Swim Club, Palo Alto, California, March 1989-September 1990
Product Engineer, Honeywell Information Systems, July 1983-September 1986
Phi Beta Kappa Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Harvard University, 1999
Joseph R. Levenson Memorial Teaching Award Nominee, Harvard University, 1999 and 2007
National Science Foundation Young Investigator, 1994
Primary inventor on U.S. and foreign patents
Honeywell Quarterly Engineering Achievement Award
Member of Tau Beta Pi Society
Fellow in the Center for Integrated System’s Fellow-Mentor-Advisor Program