Professor Savage earned his PhD in Electrical Engineering at MIT in 1965 specializing in coding and information theory. He joined Bell Laboratories in 1965 and the faculty of the Division of Engineering at Brown in 1967. In 1979 he co-founded the Department of Computer Science and served as its second chair from 1985 to 1991. By the early 1970s his research interests changed to theoretical computer science. His current research focus is computational nanotechnology, reliable computation with unreliable components, and cybersecurity. He is a Fellow of AAAS and ACM, a Life Fellow of IEEE, and a Guggenheim Fellow. He served as a Jefferson Science Fellow during the 2010 academic year in the US State Department.
Professor Savage has been heavily involved in departmental, faculty and university affairs. His recent assignments include Chair and Member of the Nominations Committee (2010-2013), Chair of the Faculty (2001-2002), Faculty Officer (2000-2003), Chair of the Task Force on Faculty Governance (2002-2003) that revised the faculty committee structure in one year, member of the Academic Priorities Committee (2002-2003), Chair of the Search Committee for the Vice President for Public Affairs and University Relations (2003-2004), and President of the Faculty Club Board of Managers (1998-2001). He is a recipient of the President's Award for Excellence in Faculty Governance.