“Google wants to support and expand the New York tech community,” Marcus Mitchell, Engineering Director, told me tonight at the second of the Google NYC 2007 Speaker Series held at the Googleplex in Cheslea, Manhattan.
How does Mitchell plan on such supporting and expanding? By opening up the NYC Googleplex to “interesting people and interesting events," such as Luiz Barroso, Google Distinguished Engineer, discussing "Watts, Faults, and Other Fascinating Dirty Words Computer Architects Can No Longer Afford to Ignore," before an audience of several hundred NYC technologists.
Barroso’s chat this evening follows a talk by Adam Bosworth, Vice President, Engineering, in January, as I report in “Google’s Adam Bosworth to NYC technologists: Speed rules.” Google will also soon be featuring speakers from outside of Google and serving as host for events organized by diverse NYC technology groups.
Through this series, Google “hopes to create a collegial atmosphere where members of the technical community can learn from and get to know one another.”
To entice participation tonight, Google promised “a beer and wine reception, followed by an enlightening presentation from Luiz”
How was the reception? Filet mignon skewers, crab cakes, crudités, cheese plate…Nevertheless, coding Googlers told me the featured spread could not compare to the gourmet lunches they are treated to daily!
How enlightening was the presentation?
When your computer begins to look more like a warehouse than a pizza box or a refrigerator, some things that you might otherwise treat as annoying afterthoughts become first order design considerations. The size of our computing infrastructure has given us some early hands-on experience with issues that are now at the forefront of computer science, such as energy-efficiency, fault-tolerance, and thread-level parallelism.
As a Distinguished Engineer at Google, Barroso has designed load-balancing software, networking and server performance optimizations, failure analysis, power provisioning, and Google's computing platform.
Prior to Google, he researched processor and memory system design for commercial workloads at Compaq and Digital Equipment Corporations, as well as helping design Piranha, a system based on an aggressive chip-multiprocessing architecture, inspiring many of the multi-core CPUs that are now in the mainstream.
Before Digital he was one of the designers of the USC RPM, an FPGA-based multiprocessor emulator for rapid hardware prototyping and worked at IBM Brazil's Rio Scientific Center.
Barroso has patents on memory system design, single-chip multiprocesing, coherence protocols, and cache organization.
Barroso presented research results on disk drive failure analysis and datacenter-level power efficiency, highlighting the “Power Provisioning for a Warehouse-sized Computer,” by Xiaobo Fan, Wolf-Dietrich Weber and Luiz André Barroso, to be part of the Proceedings of the 34th ACM International Symposium on Computer Architecture, San Diego, CA, June 2007.
His high-level conclusions:
1) Power/energy efficiency and fault tolerance are central to the design of large scale computing systems today.
2) Technology trends are likely to make them even more relevant in the future, increasingly effecting smaller scale systems.During the Q & A following Barroso’s presentation, many attendees extended the discussion with detailed, follow-up perspectives.
The engaged audience of NYC technologists is what Google seeks in its NYC Speaker Series reach out efforts. Google is showcasing its top engineering leadership to NYC engineering talent with the goal of attracting the best and the brightest to the Google team.
Googler software engineers mingled in the crowd with attendees talking about engineering life at the Googleplex and recruiters solicited email addresses for those interested in “opportunities” with Google.
The one piece of literature distributed at the event was a glossy flier entitled “Google is an engineering company,” talking about how “search is far from a solved problem”:
Google is looking for people in dozens of different engineering specialties to make a difference:
We currently search billions of Web pages. What about all the other information out there? Google’s mission is to make all the world’s information accessible, not just a subset of the Web.
So you see, we have our work cut out for us. Feel like helping? The engineering challenges we face at Google are exciting and the perks of working here are wonderful, but the real reason most of our engineers came here is that Google Engineering is a great place to work. It’s got lots of really smart people, amazing technology, fun problems, and a chance to make a real difference in the world.
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