Executive Corner: Agostinho Villela on Exploring Technology and Innovation

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The Academy of Technology’s “Executive Insights” series provides thought leadership from executives and senior members of IBM with the goal of encouraging the exchange of ideas and information. 

Agostinho de Arruda Villela
IBM CHQ, Marketing 
Distinguished Engineer & IBM Latin America Innovation Director, Value Creation

AoT: You have a rich technical background, with experience in Security, AI, IoT, Blockchain, and more. What technology are you most excited about right now at IBM, and why?

Agostinho:  I’m most excited about 5G, specially OpenRAN (Open Radio Access Networks), because of the immense potential it poses for IBM in terms of integration, consulting and hybrid Cloud.

AoT: What are some of the most interesting or innovative things you’ve done in your career?

Agostinho:  Over the course of my technology career, I’d say there are a lot of things that have been interesting and fun for me, such as: hacking Apple 2’s BASIC; creating a LAN switch and hub before these concepts were commonplace; developing a multi-tasking kernel for Z80; developing a KV AVL store that became widely used in Brazil; developing a serial line protocol for DOS; using a 3270 terminal controller as a communications controller; co-authoring a redbook on DCE Programming; co-founding a Web-based MSP; writing a country-wide network scanner that a telco used to do desktop inventory; co-authoring a patent on digital fingerprinting for cybersecurity; founding IBM Brazil’s Cloud Garage; co-authoring a patent submission on caching for voice-based assistants; co-creating and expanding the ICC LA’s Extreme Agile skunk works practice; and more recently, creating and leading IBM Brazil’s Open 4G/5G Lab Project.

AoT: Tell us about the IBM Academy of Technology’s Brazil Affiliate and some of the things they’ve worked on in the recent past. 

Agostinho:  I take great pride in being a member of the IBM Brazil AoT Affiliate TLC-BR, since it is one of the most passionate and prolific AoT geo affiliates. Besides having been a chair of the TLC-BR, I had the privilege to lead or co-lead initiatives on Cloud, Analytics, Cognitive, IoT, SDN, Blockchain, Robots, Quantum Computing, Homomorphic Encryption, and 5G, in addition to being the TLC-BR liaison with Fundação Dom Cabral (FDC) – Latin America’s most prestigious business school.

AoT: What kinds of upcoming projects is the Affiliate working on?

Agostinho:  I’m currently attending a multi-week Machine Learning deep dive, and I plan on attending a half-day on OpenShift. I intend to organize a multi-country (US, Mexico and Brazil) Tech Friday on mainframes, and I plan to start working with my TLC-BR colleagues on next year’s study. Topics under consideration for that study are Machine Learning or Renewable/Carbon Neutral Energy Sources.

AoT: 2020 has been a challenging year. How do you think IBM, the AoT, or you personally are addressing those challenges? 

Agostinho:  This year has indeed been challenging, and like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my life. The Academy of Technology, like every area of IBM, quickly adapted to the new “abnormal and continued its extremely relevant work of fostering technical vitality, even though that meant leveraging virtual means in order to do so. In my specific case, I had the opportunity to lead COVID-related initiatives on Test Pooling and on Contact Tracing in addition to the 5G Study I mentioned above.

Meet Agostinho de Arruda Villela

With over 32 years of experience in the IT industry, Agostinho Villela has one non-IBM patent issued on cybersecurity, one IBM patent filed on Voice-based assistant caching and two non-IBM patent submissions on remote computer management. Prior to IBM, Agostinho founded two IT service companies and has been an Endeavor entrepreneur and mentor. His comprehensive background includes hands-on skills ranging from hardware and software development to hardware technical pre-sales and IT services delivery. Agostinho is a member of the Academy of Technology (AoT) Leadership Team and AoT affiliate, and Founder of the IBM Brazil Cloud Garage. He is currently working as the IBM Latin America Innovation Director & Client Center Leader and Visiting Professor on Innovation at the Fundação Dom Cabral business school.

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