Howard Gobioff (1971 – 2008) was a computer scientist. He graduated magna cum laude with a double major in computer science and mathematics from the University of Maryland, College Park. At Carnegie Mellon University, he worked on the network attached secure disks project, before he went on to earn his PhD in computer science. He died suddenly from lymphoma at the age of 36.
From the Sun Sentinel:
Howard Gobioff Gobioff, Howard, 36, of New York, NY passed away March 11, 2008. Services will be held on Friday, March 14th at 2 PM. LEVITT WEINSTEIN MEM. CHAPEL Beth David Mem. Gdns. 3201 NW 72nd Ave. Hollywood 954-963-2400
From Peter Lee, Head, Computer Science Department, Carnegie Mellon University:
Howard Gobioff received his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in 1999. He was advised by Garth Gibson and Doug Tygar and was a key member of the CMU Parallel Data Lab. He joined Google when it was a 40-person startup, and became a key architect of the Google file system. Always fascinated with Japan and Japanese culture, in 2004 he launched Google’s Tokyo R&D center and then later moved to Google’s Manhattan office. Howard has been involved in a variety of core Google projects, including the advertising system and the main crawling/indexing system. He was always an active and loyal alumnus, visiting CMU every year to meet up with old friends, give lectures, and recruit people to join Google.
From Erik Riedel, long-time friend and fellow graduate student
Howard was part of several technology efforts that are having a major impact on the computing industry today. His Ph.D. work at Carnegie Mellon as part of the NASD project led to a new SCSI command set called OSD (Object-based Storage Devices) that was ratified as an ANSI standard in September 2004, with much of Howard’s design for the security protocols intact. This standard is the basis for several ongoing commercial implementations, and architectures inspired by the NASD project are already used by multiple commercial systems today. As with the subsequent efforts at Google, Howard’s contribution was part of a team that benefited from his deep expertise, his energy, his wit, and long sessions of well-reasoned and often spirited discussions.
I first met Howard when I was an undergraduate student at CMU and he was a graduate student. We liked to attend the same aerobics class. You could not imagine a more incongruous scene for Howard. Amid a sea of colorful t-shirts and sweatpants, Howard stood out with his black tank top, shorts, and shoes. He would sweep across the floor to the tune of ‘Funkytown’ in expansive grape-vines, punch the air with his fists, and set the pace for the rest of us with his irrepressible energy. One on one, Howard could sometimes be quiet, but he didn’t need to say anything to make his friends feel accepted. He expressed concern without telling someone what to do, and he provided encouragement without making someone feel that they had to live up to unrealistic expectations. I’m sorry that the times I talked with Howard grew farther apart along with the miles, and I’m sorry that I never thanked him for his steady, solid friendship. I’ll remember Howard as he was – smiling, active, solving problems, humble, laughing, dancing, listening, open-minded, buoyant hair, full of life.