Kay Ousterhout is interested in working at the intersection of distributed computational systems and computer networking, an area in which she has already conducted a variety of research projects. In her most successful project, Kay studied Byzantine fault-tolerant group partitioning. She demonstrated that a published and theoretically proven solution fails to be useful in any practical setting because asymptotic notation used in the proof hides large constants; she then helped develop alternate algorithms that increase performance by three orders of magnitude. Kay plans to continue research in distributed systems and networking as a graduate student.
Kay was born in Berkeley, California, and is currently a senior in the computer science department at Princeton University. At Princeton, Kay has also earned a variety of honors, including the Accenture Prize for Academic Excellence and early election to Phi Beta Kappa.
Aside from her academic pursuits, Kay co-founded Princeton Women in Computer Science, and was actively involved in Cap and Gown Club (one of ten eating clubs) where she served as the technology chair. She is an avid runner and skier.
Kay plans to continue her studies at the University of California, Berkeley.