Friday Blast #42
Reducing DRAM footprint with NVM at Facebook (2018) - Morning Paper’s review of a new paper by Facebook on their use of NVM for their MySQL databases. Pretty interesting stuff and a cool production use of non-volatile memory.
Quantum computing for policymakers and philosopher-novelists (2018) - good stuff from Scott Aaronson on what quantum computing will mean for society. Many folks focus on cryptography, but machine learning and optimization, and simulation of quantum chemestry are even more important.
ServiceFabric: a distributed platform for building microservices in the cloud (2018) - another Morning Paper review, this time of a Microsoft system. It’s pretty impressive - sort of Kubernetes on steroids, with a lot of high-availability & routing built in. Still, it’s not a PaaS or anything like that, just a service scheduler.
Full cycle developers at Netflix - operate what you build (2018) - Netflix aims for their developers to be “full cycle” (I imagine this is an extension of _full stack). This means that they are responsibile for building and running the service. This is pretty common at large Internet companies in fact - Amazon, Google, Facebook etc use it, with SREs doing more infrastructure level work (monitoring a database offered as a service for example). I found the analysis of the pros and cons of this approach interesting as well. Some folks really want to do a certain type of thing, and are going to be frustrated by the full cycle expectation. Though, truth be told, that always comes in the folks who go deep. If you’re building compilers at one of these companies, yeah, you’re probably going to be annoyed by an expectation of monitoring a service. But, most probably, you won’t be in that position to boot - you’re building compilers. Other folks do like to see the whole sausage being made (myself included).
The economics of writing a technical book (2018) - a really insightful look at what it takes to write a book and what a typical successful outcome is. We’re not talking about massive successes everyone knows about - TAOCP or the like. Just a regular book about current tech, relatively short and with a moderate shelf-life. And it’s not that great. The time committment is huge (year’s worth of side-work), but the payoff is kind of meh. Still, it’s probably a huge ego boost to write a book.