Kevin Karplus, PhD

Fellowship Awarded 1978
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Kevin is a Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the Undergraduate and Graduate Director for Bioinformatics programs.

Kevin has been doing protein structure prediction for the past 12 years, having left the field of VLSI design and VLSI CAD.

He may be best known for work done as a Hertz Fellow with Alexander Strong (also a Hertz Fellow), their “Digitar” plucked-string algorithm, which is commonly called the Karplus-Strong algorithm, though Kevin believes Alex really deserves first billing. The US patent has been cited in 38 other US patents, and Google finds over 13,000 web pages referring to “karplus-strong”. This is a pretty good impact for a single paper in a low-circulation journal (Computer Music Journal).

Kevin’s protein-structure prediction work gets a few more web pages and quite a few more citations, but the work has involved many more people and generated a lot more papers, so the impact per paper is smaller. His group has done particularly well at the biennial CASP (Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction) competitions, presenting papers (the “prize” for the competition) in CASP2 through CASP7.

He has helped create two departments at UCSC: Computer Engineering and Biomolecular Engineering, being a major contributor to the design of the curriculum (undergrad and grad) for both programs.

He also has some interest in teaching children computer programming and has been an active member of the Scratch community (Forum Moderator for

Graduate Studies

Stanford University
Computer Science
CHISEL An Extension to the Programming Language C for VLSI Layout