2014: A Year in Review

01 Jan 2015

With 2014 wrapping up and 2015 ahead of us, I find it important to look back on what happened over the course of the year and set goals for how I’d like my work to develop over the coming year.

I’m not going to enumerate the events of the past year, because they’ve already been discussed in various sections of my blog. I would like to take a moment to highlight some of my favorite experiences, along with those which I consider most valuable to my development as a researcher and engineer.

2014; The Academic Edition

For someone who’s not actually a graduate student, I was involved in several academic events and research projects over the past year. Starting last January with my first ever trip to Louvain-la-Neuve to meet the SyncFree researchers – I also ended this year with my second trip to Louvain-la-Neuve, working on designing a programming language for eventually consistent systems.

Here’s the highlights:

  • Starting in January of 2014, I became involved in the SyncFree research project on large-scale synchronization free computation.
  • As part of our work on Lasp, we published and spoke about our programming model for eventually consistent systems.
  • I was able to attend the Workshop on Database Consistency in the Cloud where, in addition to the great talks, attend the Ph.D. defense of Masoud Saeida-Ardekani.
  • I was able to participate in research trips to Europe visiting Kaiserslautern, Louvain-la-Neuve, Braga, Paris, and London.
  • I had the opportunity to spend a week with Peter Van Roy in Louvain-la-Neuve working on the next iteration of our programming language for eventually consistent systems.
  • I attended and presented at workshops associated with Eurosys ‘14, Middleware ‘14, ICFP ‘14, and LADIS ‘14.

Above all, however, have been the friendships that I’ve developed during the process of traveling to all of these locations; specifically, João Leitão, Nuno Preguiça, Marc Shapiro, Peter Van Roy, Annette Bieniusa, Carlos Baquero, Paulo Sérgio Almeida, Carla Ferreira, Alejandro Tomsic, Manuel Bravo, Zhongmiao Li, Deepthi Akkoorath, Tyler Crain, and Mahsa Najafzadeh.

2014; The Industry Edition

It’s no secret that it’s been a tough year professionally. I’ve seen many of my very close friends at Basho depart for other opportunities. That said, they’ve all gone on to do amazing things, and I’m extremely happy to have had the opportunity to work with them.

Regardless, there were many great highlights:

  • Riak 2.0 shipped, with strong consistency, CRDTs, distributed search with Yokozuna, and security. This was a massive effort by all members of the engineering team.
  • RICON 2014 was held in Las Vegas this October and featured an incredible lineup of talks.
  • Basho was well represented at both Erlang User Conference and Erlang Factory, discussing cutting-edge features in Riak.
  • Basho had an all-hands meeting in Estes Park, Colorado.
  • Additionally, I was able to spend time in Leeds, UK, discussing the future of CRDTs with two of my favorite coworkers, Russell Brown and Jon Meredith.

2014; The Personal Edition

Not much happened in my personal life, given I spent most of it traveling for my academic and industrial pursuits, but here are some highlights:

  • Continued Think Distributed, a podcast I created facilitating discussion on distributed systems topics.
  • I gave three talks, of which I’m very proud: EmberConf 2014, ReactConf 2014, and NDC London 2014.
  • I travelled for over 250 days of the year, including locations such as the following: London, Cambridge, Leeds, Paris, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Kaiserslautern, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Uppsala, Gothenberg, Braga, Porto, Amsterdam, Brussels, Louvain-la-Neuve, Portland, San Francisco, New York, and more!
  • I moved to Providence, RI.

In Conclusion

2014’s gone by faster than I can imagine, and while it’s contained many moements of sadness, it’s brought so much in terms of professional and personal development. Here’s to a great 2015 full of research and engineering!