An Application Architect who Cares about Energy Efficiency

Pat Helland put up his post about a week at Foo Camp. 

What is Foo Camp? Pat gives an entertaining summary.

A Weekend at Foo Camp

Well...  I was lucky enough to get invited to Foo Camp (which was last weekend) and I figure "What the heck!  Let's do it!".  

Foo Camp is held at the O'Reilly headquarters in Sebastopol, CA which is 1 to 2 hours (or more depending on traffic) north of San Francisco.  It is an invitation only event whose name stands for "Friends Of O'Reilly" and involves about 300 diverse and interesting individuals from different walks of the computer industry (and related industries).  Tim O'Reilly host it at their headquarters and supplies very nice buffet food, showers, rest rooms, and meeting rooms.  I was informed that the best way to enjoy the event is to camp there which means either pitching a tent on their lawn or finding an available space in a meeting room or hallway to throw a sleeping bag.  It was an option to get a hotel room in town.  Now... I haven't camped in about 20 years so this required some thinking... 

I concluded I had two options:

  1. Stay in a hotel room and ensure I remained sober enough to drive at the end of the evening, OR
  2. Buy a tent at REI in Santa Rosa and then hit the high-end liquor store in Santa Rosa to buy enough whiskey to lubricate a serious subset of the 300 attendees.

Naturally, I chose the second option and bought six bottles (some of my favorites and others I hadn't tried). 

It turns out James Hamilton and Pat Helland are friends and are putting their heads together on Energy Efficiency software. James is left, Pat is center, and Jesse Robbins is right.



But, back to the Energy Efficiency software.  Here are Pat's comments.

Sometimes, it was hard to select between the various cool sessions.   I remember the following ones:

  • Data center power -- James Hamilton (my friend from Microsoft) and Jeff Hammerbacher who leads the Facebook data team (but will be leaving soon).  Both James and Jeff were filled with information about running large and dynamic data centers.   The power issues for data centers have been on my mind the last few years and I find that James is a wonderful font of knowledge.   I most definitely love that he is at Microsoft and my friend... I plan to come pepper him with additional questions in the months to com.   Jeff, also, has tons of knowledge from supporting the data needs of Facebook as it has undergone its explosive growth.  This was a fun and invigorating discussion in which I met an attendee, Roger Magoulas who is a research director at O'Reilly.   I have a feeling that there will be opportunities for me to work with Roger, too.
  • Parallel Programming -- Kerry Hammil of Microsoft Research.   We had a fun discussion of the difficulties of getting applications (and, indeed, their libraries and OSes) to be parallel.  There were about 25 great and interesting people participating in this group and, not surprisingly, I participated, too.     This was such a lively discussion for me that it ended up in the hallway and we skipped the next session.

Here is an application architect who cares about data center power and parallel (multicore) programming. I hope we see more people like Pat show up.

Jesse Robbins in the above picture has an interesting background.

  • Technical Program Manager at
  • Manager - IT Operations at
  • Task Force Leader at World Shelters Task Force 1
  • Systems Engineer at
  • Firefighter/EMT (Intern) at Palo Alto Fire Department