University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
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Gregory R. Roelofs (B.S., Physics, 1985)


I have worked at Yahoo for the last three years as part of the core (runtime) search-engine team.

Search is an absolutely fascinating field, covering the spectrum from highly threaded, high-performance computing (and every thing that entails, including kernel bugs, library bugs, compiler bugs, CPU bugs, and plain old application bugs) to large-scale clustering (many thousands of machines, tens of billions of documents, petabytes of data, robust failover and redundancy) to all the fuzziness associated with computational linguistics: dozens of languages, multiple character-encodings, misspelled queries, underspecified user intent, over-constrained fitting problems, and on and on. My work does not involve much physics, but it does encompass a huge variety of interesting problems. The problem solving skills one uses are fundamentally similar. It is immense fun, in case that wasn’t obvious. Did I mention that we are hiring? Folks can poke around, upload their resume, and then additionally send me an e-mail with the resume and potential job-req numbers so I can alert our hiring managers. Note that if the position is outside of web-search, I will not be able to help much, if at all. The search group has quite a variety of openings. Prior to Yahoo, I spent nine years at Philips Electronics, six in the corporate research division (Internet TV, graphics and audio compression, virtual worlds, etc.) followed by three in the semiconductors division (embedded Linux on a triple-core processor); every now and then one of the patents I filed there is approved. At around the same time, I helped design the PNG image format and wrote a book about it. I still maintain the official web site and occasionally contribute to libpng and related free/libre and open source software. Before Philips I spent a number of years working on my dissertation at the University of Chicago (“Radial Motions in Spiral Galaxies”), though I actually ended up spending more time at NASA Ames in the San Jose area than I did in Chicago. I met my wife, Veronica, there. We recently celebrated our 14th anniversary. We have two daughters, Lyra (11) and Delenn (8). We still live in San Jose. Our most recent mini-trip was to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where both kids participated in the “Underwater Explorers” scuba program.