June 20, 2007

Amr A. Awadallah, PhD

Posted in Category: Life,School — Amr Awadallah @ 1:58 am | link | | comment (0)

It is official, last Sunday (June 17th, 2007) was the graduation ceremony at Stanford, my PhD degree is now conferred and I received the diploma.

You can see photos from the graduation ceremony on flickr at:


My PhD Advisor: Mendel Rosenblum

You can read my thesis abstract or download the full dissertation at:


Here are some simple stats:

  • 11.5 years from start to finish
  • 3 research topics (i.e. changed topic 2 times)
  • 6 years on research topic that lead to final thesis (while working at Yahoo)
  • 3 great research advisers (Fouad Tobagi, Nick McKeown, and Mendel Rosenblum)
  • 5 published papers (3 for final research topic, 2 on previous topics)
  • 100 page dissertation
  • 4.0 GPA for the course work
  • 2 years leave of absence in middle (which is Stanford limit)
  • 4 kids, all born during this period 🙂
  • 1 startup (VivaSmart/Aptivia, acquired by Yahoo in 2000)
  • 5 classes for which I was Teaching Assistant (some were pretty large)
  • 50 pounds gained

When I came from Egypt to Stanford in Sept 1995, my goal was to get the PhD and return to my country to teach (I love teaching). That goal changed quickly though, as you can get spoiled very quickly in the Bay Area, it is truly a land of opportunity, cutting edge technology, natural beauty, and very hospitable for immigrants (folks here are from all corners of Earth). After joining Yahoo my career was flourishing, but I still had to get the PhD, it is like an Olympic medal, an achievement that I have to do for the sake of achieving it, more than anything else.

To all those that helped me achieve this goal, my deepest thanks from the bottom of my heart.


— amr

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July 25, 2006

I successfully defended my Stanford EE PhD.

Posted in Category: School — Amr Awadallah @ 2:02 pm | link | | comment (0)

The showdown happened yesterday (7/24/2006) around 11am at Stanford University in Packard 202.

The chairman for the orals was Prof. B.T. Khuri-Yakub, the other examiners included Prof. Mendel Rosenblum (my research advisor and founder of VMware), Prof. Hector Garcia-Molina, and Prof. David Mazières (both Hector and David are also on my reading committee).

The public part of the orals defense took about 1 hour, this is where I get to do a presentation about my work, and the public is invited to attend. After that we took a 5 min break then the private part started, where the profs got to hammer me with all types of questions to reveal whether I really know what I am talking about ;). I think that took about 45 minutes. They then asked me to leave the room and spent about 15 minutes deliberating (felt like eternity). Prof. Khuri-Yakub (with his very pleasant smile) was the first one to come out and give me the good news.

BTW, according to Google Scholar, my first paper in this series (published in 2002), is the most relevant result for the query “Dynamic Content Distribution” (thanks Google), and has 35 citations so far.

There is still one step left to get the PhD degree, and that is to finish the thesis (the book). It’s currently about 90% done, and I am targeting end of August to complete it, so if everything goes smoothly, I should be done by end of this summer quarter.

One thousand thanks goes to a very long list of folks that helped me achieve this (hard to list them all), thanks also goes to Stanford for being such an amazing entrepreneurial School, and to Yahoo! for being a company that cares about my career just as much as they care about the work I do for them.

You can get a copy of the presentation and my papers at this link:


From that page you can also download a hi-quality video for the talk, or you can watch the low-quality version at Yahoo video search (also embedded below):

— Amr

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