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October 29, 2003

An Academic at the PDC

There are less than a 100 of us academics roaming the PDC floors. Among 7000 developers it is difficult to notice them. I believe I have seen two others but we didn't connect. I did talk to a lot of developers and architects, mainly about the kind of scalability and reliability problems they are experiencing in their real-world application and systems, and they are trying to solve them today with limited tools. This input alone already makes this trip already worthwhile.

I try to go to the sessions that deal with technology at a more conceptual level then those that have a more narrow focus. For example I attended the indigo service talks yesterday, but will skip the indigo & security talk today. Not that I am not interested, we are dealing with web services security in the pub/sub research we are doing.

Given that a large number of the Longhorn/Indigo/WinFS APIs are  likely to undergo changes, I think that focusing on the concepts will pay off more. And from an academic point of view, it is interesting to understand how some of the visions translate into the real implementation.

For example it is cool to see that what we have been 'preaching' for the past 10 years, that distribution transparency makes it very difficult to build distributed system, finally is finding its way into the thinking of the architects.

Overall the information flow is exhausting, but fascinating at the same time.

Posted by Werner Vogels at October 29, 2003 02:58 PM