Steve Hsu

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Stephen D. H. Hsu
Stephen Hsu.png
Born1966 (age 53–54)
Alma materCalifornia Institute of Technology, University of California, Berkeley
Known forFounder of SafeWeb and RobotGenius

Stephen D. H. Hsu (born 1966) is an American physicist and university administrator.


Hsu received a B.S. from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1986, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1991. After his doctorate, he was a Harvard Junior Fellow and Superconducting Super Collider Fellow from 1991 to 1994.

Richard Feynman and Stephen Hsu
Richard Feynman and Stephen Hsu (age 19). 1986 Caltech graduation.


He became an assistant professor at Yale University in 1995 before moving to the University of Oregon in 1998 where he became a full professor of theoretical physics and Director of the Institute of Theoretical Science. Hsu's research has focused on a number of areas in particle physics and cosmology, including phase transitions in the early universe, the ground state of quark matter at high density,[1] black holes[2] and quantum information,[3] minimum length from quantum gravity,[4] dark energy,[5] and quantum foundations.[6]

In July 2012, he was named Michigan State University’s Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies.[7][8] Under Hsu's leadership, MSU annual research expenditures, as reported in the annual National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development report, grew from $500 million to over $700 million per year.[9]

Hsu writes regularly in a blog called Information Processing.[10]

Technology work[edit]

Hsu was founder and CEO of SafeWeb, which was acquired by Symantec on October 15, 2003 for $26 million. SafeWeb pioneered SSL VPN technology which later become standard in commercial-grade firewalls. He is also a founder of Genomic Prediction, a company that develops technology for advanced genetic testing.

Hsu endowed a permanent undergraduate scholarship at Caltech in his father's name, the Cheng-Ting Hsu Scholarship, using SafeWeb shares.[11]

Hsu also has an interest in psychometrics and human genetic variation, which he writes about in his blog and in other publications.[12][13][14][15]

In 2017 Hsu and collaborators applied Lasso (invented in 1997 by Robert Tibshirani) to construct the first accurate genomic predictors of complex human traits (height, bone density, cognitive ability), using data from the UK Biobank. Their height predictor estimates adult height from genotype alone, with accuracy of roughly one inch.[16]

In 2018 his research group used the 23-year-old method once again on the same dataset to build genomic predictors for complex diseases such as Hypothyroidism, (Resistive) Hypertension, Type 1 and 2 Diabetes, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Gallstones, Glaucoma, Gout, Atrial Fibrillation, High Cholesterol, Asthma, Basal Cell Carcinoma, Malignant Melanoma, and Heart Attack. Outliers in risk score (e.g., 99th percentile) were shown, in out-of-sample validation tests, to have up to ten times the risk of ordinary individuals for the specific conditions.[17][18] The predictors use as input information dozens to thousands of common SNPs measured for each individual.

He serves as scientific adviser to BGI (formerly Beijing Genomics Institute), and as a member of its Cognitive Genomics Lab.


  1. ^ Evans, Nick; Hormuzdiar, James; Hsu, Stephen D.H.; Schwetz, Myck (2000). "On the QCD ground state at high density". Nuclear Physics B. 581 (1–2): 391–408. arXiv:hep-ph/9910313. Bibcode:2000NuPhB.581..391E. doi:10.1016/S0550-3213(00)00253-4.
  2. ^ Hsu, Stephen D.H.; Hormuzdiar, James; Hsu, Stephen D. H.; Schwetz, Myck (2003). "Quantum production of black holes". Physics Letters B. 555 (1–2): 92–98. arXiv:hep-ph/0203154. doi:10.1016/S0370-2693(03)00012-1.
  3. ^ Hsu, Stephen D. H.; Reeb, David; Hsu, Stephen D. H.; Schwetz, Myck (2009). "Black holes, information, and decoherence". Physical Review D. 79 (12): 124037. arXiv:0903.2258. Bibcode:2009PhRvD..79l4037H. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.79.124037.
  4. ^ Calmet, Xavier; Graesser, Michael; Hsu, Stephen D. H.; Schwetz, Myck (2004). "Minimum Length from Quantum Mechanics and Classical General Relativity". Physical Review Letters. 93 (21): 211101. arXiv:hep-th/0405033. Bibcode:2004PhRvL..93u1101C. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.211101.
  5. ^ Hsu, Stephen D.H.; Hormuzdiar, James; Hsu, Stephen D. H.; Schwetz, Myck (2004). "Entropy bounds and dark energy". Physics Letters B. 594 (1–2): 13–16. arXiv:hep-th/0403052. doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2004.05.020.
  6. ^ Evans, Nick; Hormuzdiar, James; Hsu, Stephen D. H.; Schwetz, Myck (2015). "The measure problem in no-collapse (many worlds) quantum mechanics". arXiv:1511.08881 [quant-ph].
  7. ^ "Stephen Hsu named new MSU research vice president | MSUToday | Michigan State University". 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  8. ^ "Stephen Hsu". Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Information Processing". Retrieved 2015-11-24.
  11. ^ Hsu, Stephen (2008-04-01). "Information Processing: Hsu scholarship at Caltech". Information Processing. Retrieved 2019-01-11.
  12. ^ "Nautilus Magazine: Super-Intelligent Humans". 2014-10-16. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
  13. ^ "Nautilus Magazine: Smart Machines". 2015-09-03. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
  14. ^ Hsu, Stephen D. H. (2014). "Genetic Architecture of Intelligence". arXiv:1408.3421 [q-bio.GN].
  15. ^ " Hsu on Cognitive Genomics". 2013-08-31. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
  16. ^ Lello, Louis; Avery, Steven G.; Tellier, Laurent; Vazquez, Ana; Campos, Gustavo de los; Hsu, Stephen D. H. (2017-09-18). "Accurate Genomic Prediction Of Human Height". Genetics. 210 (2): 477–497. arXiv:1709.06489. Bibcode:2017arXiv170906489L. bioRxiv 190124. doi:10.1534/genetics.118.301267. PMC 6216598. PMID 30150289.
  17. ^ Hsu, Stephen D. H.; Tellier, Laurent CAM; Yong, Soke Yuen; Raben, Timothy; Lello, Louis (2018-12-27). "Genomic Prediction of Complex Disease Risk". bioRxiv 506600.
  18. ^ "AI and the Genetic Revolution". Harvard Business Review. 2019-05-08. ISSN 0017-8012. Retrieved 2019-05-20.

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