Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Conference, day 1

Last weekend I attended Convergence 2005
at IITB, Powai. The topic for the talk was "Computing Infrastructure
in Enterprise Networks". (Click here
for details.)

I took a 7am Jet Airways flight from Bangalore to Mumbai. Jet
Airways has some pretty awesome breakfast. I was looking forward to
eating a huge (complimentary) breakfast buffet at the Leela after
getting there but:
a) We had to dump our bags and take off right away for IIT
b) I was already kind of full from the breakfast on the plane :)

I missed the keynote, but got to hear Prof. Iyer give an overview
of enterprise networks. It was pretty interesting: he started by
looking at a single node and seeing what problems there were at the
application and administration levels. Then he talked about managing a
small cluster of nodes (e.g. a lab at IIT), followed by a cluster of
clusters (a department); etc., all the way up to looking at the public

Mr Ganguly from Intel spoke next. I don't think the talk was
extremely relevant to the topic of the conference. He basically ran us
through Intel's product line. Maybe I missed the point slightly.

During lunch I got to chat with a few students and find out what
they're working on. The particular student I spoke with was looking at
the problem of data forecasting and how, after removing the
seasonality and trend components of a time series, he believed there
are still more patterns to be derived out of the white-noise component
that's left behind.

After lunch, Prof Om Damani gave an overview to load balancing
solutions. I didn't get a chance to talk with him in detail but he's
worked at Akamai (and TJ Watson) so I'm sure he has some pretty cool
real-world experiences to share.

Mr. Manoj Chugh (President, EMC2 india) gave the next talk regarding
EMC2's storage strategy. It was a well delivered, highly entertaining
talk with a lot of vision but little content. I wish I had his public
speaking skills and presence.

Post-tea-and-samosa-break, Prof Varsha Apte was to
give a talk on Queuing Theory and capacity planning. Following a great
speaker and a tea break; being the last session of the day; and trying
to teach an auditorium full of people the intricacies of Queueing Threory is no easy
task. She did a great job motivating the need to study queueing theory
as well as giving people an intuitive understanding of the
subject. She ended with a discussion of a real-world example from AT&T
labs where she had used some queuing theory to identify bottlenecks in a

Before leaving for Bombay I had found out that Leela Bombay has a squash court. Vikas and I played an amazing and exhausting hour of squash
(I got my ass beat again though) and then cooled off in a pool for a few minutes.

The rest of the evening was spent drinking, eating, and chilling with
Werner. and Drew. I think we actually started dinner at 11:15 or something ridiculous like that so it was past 1 by the time I got to bed. 6:30am squash plans were cancelled though I made a valiant effort (I set my alarm and even got out of bed to switch it off).

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