Randy Howard Katz, who helped develop many of the wireless tools and fast, reliable computer storage we take for granted today, has been appointed vice chancellor for research at UC Berkeley.
Katz, the United Microelectronics Corporation Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, will assume the position Jan. 1, 2018. He will take over from G. Steven Martin, who has served as interim vice chancellor since Paul Alivisatos was appointed executive vice chancellor and provost in July.
A 1980 Ph.D. graduate of UC Berkeley who joined the faculty in 1983, Katz is well known in the computer industry for his development of RAID computer storage systems in the 1980s with professor emeritus David Patterson and then-graduate student Garth Gibson. Short for Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks, RAID storage today is a multibillion-dollar business that allows storing data in multiple places across an array of many small, parallel computers for quick retrieval and protection against loss or corruption of the data. He will be inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame in February for this work.
He is also known as the scientist who brought the nascent internet to the White House. In the 1990s, he set up the email accounts of former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore and built the original whitehouse.gov site, which has been the main portal into the executive branch ever since.
“I feel blessed to give back in leadership at this stage of my career, after a 40-year history at Berkeley,” Katz said. “I bring long experience with many dimensions of the research enterprise on campus, from research and student mentoring to government service and international collaboration,” he added.