… on inspiration out of political unrest
I grew up in Poland during the 1980s, when most people were considering industry jobs — not jobs with companies like IBM. But I was always interested in technical challenges. To which, my parents encouraged me to pursue math, physics, any science, really. And I was particularly inspired by some of my teachers who approached their work with the utmost dedication, and who not only motivated me to excel academically. So, while my interest in math and science required me to do much more in school than was strictly expected, in many ways I owe my success at IBM to those early experiences. They taught me to always pursue greater challenges, and among those challenges, to seek exposure to the most innovative technical environment — which led me to the United States.
… on interning at IBM
I can definitely say that IBM Research doesn’t ask its interns to fetch coffee! As a PhD student at the University of Delaware, I interned at IBM Research in New York for three consecutive summers. My first project in the summer of 2000, code-named Oceano, was in fact an early attempt at cloud computing — way before anyone actually used the term “cloud computing.”
We were building a prototype for utility computing, to make compute resource available like electricity — available at the flip of a switch. My job was to figure out a scheme to correlate infrastructure level events with user-observable symptoms. The goal was to simplify and automate the diagnosis of problems that happen in such complex systems. This was quite innovative at the time. Our team published a paper on our work, which made an academic and scientific impact and even garnered an award from IBM.
… on developing a “centerpiece” of IBM’s hybrid cloud strategy
So, container clouds — IBM Containers — on Bluemix allow a developer to package, deploy and manage applications on the cloud using container technologies. Containers offer efficient and easily portable application-packaging formats. They also provide a lightweight runtime environment where these applications can be deployed quickly, and executed with high performance. Moreover, using the transparency of containers, cloud providers can get insight into user applications. This insight lets cloud providers develop analytics to improve security, compliance and performance of applications. What normally requires a lot of effort from users can now be offered as a built-in cloud capability.
Now, by using images and services provided by the cloud, developers can, in just minutes, build, for example, a call center app that understands user sentiment; and get it up and running in seconds, and also instantaneously get insight into its security and performance. This is a real game-changer for the development and operations of cloud applications.
… on how to become a Fellow
At IBM, I focused on things that I felt passionate about. And I have always felt that I was contributing to something important. That has been a lot of fun. It also turned out to be a path to Fellow — and I didn’t even know it.
… on best ideas
The best of my creative thinking happens in non-work environments, like in the gym, or while swimming, hiking or cooking. This is when my mind starts wandering … and ends up in a place it has never been before.
… on a favorite app
Trello. It has transformed the way I communicate chores to my children. It turns out, kids cannot negotiate with an app!