Happy $100 Billion to Mark Zuckerberg Productions !

Heres to an expected $100 billion market valuation to the latest Silicon Valley Legend, Facebook- A Mark Zuckerberg Production.

Some milestones that made FB what it is-

1) Beating up MySpace, Ibibo, Google Orkut combined

2) Smart timely acquisitions from Friend feed , to Instagram

3) Superb infrastructure for 900 million accounts, fast interface rollouts, and a policy of never deleting data. Some of this involved creating new technology like Cassandra. There have been no anti-trust complaints against FB’s behavior particularly as it simply stuck to being the cleanest interface offering a social network

4) Much envied and copied features like Newsfeed, App development on the FB platform, Social Gaming as revenue streams

5) Replacing Google as the hot techie employer, just like Google did to Microsoft.

6) An uncanny focus, including walking away from a billion dollars from Yahoo,resisting Google, Apple’s Ping, imposing design changes unilaterally, implementing data sharing only with flexible partners  and strategic investors (like Bing)

FB has made more money for more people than any other company in the past ten years. Here’s wishing it an even more interesting next ten years! With 900 million users if they could integrate a PayPal like system, or create an alternative to Adsense for content creators, they could create an all new internet economy – one which is more open than the Google dominated internet ; 0


The Amazing Microsoft Robotics

Amazing stuff from the makers of Kinetic-

Operating systems of Robots may be the future cash cow of Microsoft , while the pirates of Silicon Valley fight fascinating cloudy wars! 🙂



Product Information

Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 beta (RDS4 beta) provides a wide range of support to help make it easy to develop robot applications. RDS4 beta includes a programming model that helps make it easy to develop asynchronous, state-driven applications. RDS4 beta provides a common programming framework that can be applied to support a wide variety of robots, enabling code and skill transfer.

RDS4 beta includes a lightweight asynchronous services-oriented runtime, a set of visual authoring and simulation tools, as well as templates, tutorials, and sample code to help you get started.

Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 beta Datasheet – English (PDF Format)

Product VideoView the product video on Channel 9!

This release has extensive support for the Kinect sensor hardware throug the Kinect for Windows SDK allowing developers to create Kinect-enabled robots in the Visual Simulation Environment and in real life. Along with this release comes a standardized reference spec for building a Kinect-based robot.

See how Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 beta is being used to bring ideas to life in the Microsoft Robotics@Home competition.

Lightweight Asynchronous ServicesOriented Runtime

Lightweight Asynchronous ServicesOriented Runtime

Concurrency and Coordination Runtime (CCR) helps make it easier to handle asynchronous input and output by eliminating the conventional complexities of manual threading, locks, and semaphores. Lightweight state-oriented Decentralized Software Services (DSS) framework enables you to create program modules that can interoperate on a robot and connected PCs by using a relatively simple, open protocol.

Visual Programming Language (VPL)

Visual Programming Language

Visual Programming Language (VPL) provides a relatively simple drag-and-drop visual programming language tool that helps make it easy to create robotics applications. VPL also provides the ability to take a collection of connected blocks and reuse them as a single block elsewhere in your program. VPL is also capable of generating human-readable C#.

DSS Manifest Editor

DSS Manifest Editor

DSS Manifest Editor (DSSME) provides a relatively simple creation of application configuration and distribution scenarios.

DSS Log Analyzer

DSS Log Analyzer

The DSS Log Analyzer tool allows you to view message flows across multiple DSS services. DSS Log Analyzer also allows you to inspect message details.

Visual Simulation Environment (VSE)

Visual Simulation Environment

Visual Simulation Environment (VSE) provides the ability to simulate and test robotic applications using a 3D physics-based simulation tool. This allows developers to create robotics applications without the hardware. Sample simulation models and environments enable you to test your application in a variety of 3D virtual environments.

Interview Markus Schmidberger ,Cloudnumbers.com

Here is an interview with Markus Schmidberger, Senior Community Manager for cloudnumbers.com. Cloudnumbers.com is the exciting new cloud startup for scientific computing. It basically enables transition to a R and other platforms in the cloud and makes it very easy and secure from the traditional desktop/server model of operation.

Ajay- Describe the startup story for setting up Cloudnumbers.com

Markus- In 2010 the company founders Erik Muttersbach (TU München), Markus Fensterer (TU München) and Moritz v. Petersdorff-Campen (WHU Vallendar) started with the development of the cloud computing environment. Continue reading “Interview Markus Schmidberger ,Cloudnumbers.com”

Cyber Attacks-Protecting your assets and people from cyber attacks

Cyber Attacks-Protecting your assets and people from cyber attacks

Everyday we hear of new cyber attacks on organizations and countries. The latest attacks were on IMF and 200,000 accounts of Citibank and now the website of the US Senate. If some of the most powerful and technologically advanced organizations could not survive targeted attacks, how effective is your organization in handling cyber security. Sony Playstation, Google Gmail, PBS website are other famous targets that have been victimized.

Before we play the blame game by pointing to China for sponsoring hacker attacks, or Russian spammers for creating Bot Nets or ex Silicon Valley /American technology experts rendered jobless by off-shoring, we need to both understand which companies are most vulnerable, which processes need to be fine tuned and what is the plan of action in case your cyber security is breached.

Which companies are most vulnerable?

If you have valuable data, confidential in nature , in electronic form AND connectivity to internet, you have an opening. Think of data as water, if you have a small leakage all the water can be leaked away. To add to complexity, the attackers are mostly unknown, and extremely difficult to catch, and can take a big chunk of your credibility and intellectual property in a very short time.

The best people in technology are not the ones attending meetings in nicely pressed suits– and your IT guy is rarely a match for the talent that is now available on freelance hire for cyber corporate espionage.

Any company or organization that has not undergone through one real time simulated cyber attack or IT audit that focuses on data security is very vulnerable.

Which organizational processes need to be fine tuned ?
Clearly employee access even at senior management needs to be ensured for both technological as well as social vulnerability. Does your reception take the name of senior management if cold called. Do your senior managers surf the internet and use a simple password on the same computer and laptop. Do you have disaster management and redundancy plans.
A wall is only as strong as its weakest brick and the same is true of organizational readiness for cyber attacks.

What is the plan of action in case your cyber security is breached?
Lean back, close your eyes and think your website has just been breached, someone has just stolen confidential emails from your corporate email server, and complete client as well as the most confidential data in your organization has been lost.

Do you have a plan for what to do next? Or are you waiting for an actual cyber event to occur to make that plan.

Interview Jamie Nunnelly NISS

An interview with Jamie Nunnelly, Communications Director of National Institute of Statistical Sciences

Ajay– What does NISS do? And What does SAMSI do?

Jamie– The National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) was established in 1990 by the national statistics societies and the Research Triangle universities and organizations, with the mission to identify, catalyze and foster high-impact, cross-disciplinary and cross-sector research involving the statistical sciences.

NISS is dedicated to strengthening and serving the national statistics community, most notably by catalyzing community members’ participation in applied research driven by challenges facing government and industry. NISS also provides career development opportunities for statisticians and scientists, especially those in the formative stages of their careers.

The Institute identifies emerging issues to which members of the statistics community can make key contributions, and then catalyzes the right combinations of researchers from multiple disciplines and sectors to tackle each problem. More than 300 researchers from over 100 institutions have worked on our projects.

The Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) is a partnership of Duke University,  North Carolina State University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and NISS in collaboration with the William Kenan Jr. Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science and is part of the Mathematical Sciences Institutes of the NSF.

SAMSI focuses on 1-2 programs of research interest in the statistical and/or applied mathematical area and visitors from around the world are involved with the programs and come from a variety of disciplines in addition to mathematics and statistics.

Many come to SAMSI to attend workshops, and also participate in working groups throughout the academic year. Many of the working groups communicate via WebEx so people can be involved with the research remotely. SAMSI also has a robust education and outreach program to help undergraduate and graduate students learn about cutting edge research in applied mathematics and statistics.

Ajay– What successes have you had in 2010- and what do you need to succeed in 2011. Whats planned for 2011 anyway

Jamie– NISS has had a very successful collaboration with the National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) over the past two years that was just renewed for the next two years. NISS & NASS had three teams consisting of a faculty researcher in statistics, a NASS researcher, a NISS mentor, a postdoctoral fellow and a graduate student working on statistical modeling and other areas of research for NASS.

NISS is also working on a syndromic surveillance project with Clemson University, Duke University, The University of Georgia, The University of South Carolina. The group is currently working with some hospitals to test out a model they have been developing to help predict disease outbreak.

SAMSI had a very successful year with two programs ending this past summer, which were the Stochastic Dynamics program and the Space-time Analysis for Environmental Mapping, Epidemiology and Climate Change. Several papers were written and published and many presentations have been made at various conferences around the world regarding the work that was conducted as SAMSI last year.

Next year’s program is so big that the institute has decided to devote all it’s time and energy around it, which is uncertainty quantification. The opening workshop, in addition to the main methodological theme, will be broken down into three areas of interest under this broad umbrella of research: climate change, engineering and renewable energy, and geosciences.

Ajay– Describe your career in science and communication.

Jamie– I have been in communications since 1985, working for large Fortune 500 companies such as General Motors and Tropicana Products. I moved to the Research Triangle region of North Carolina after graduate school and got into economic development and science communications first working for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership in 1994.

From 1996-2005 I was the communications director for the Research Triangle Park, working for the Research Triangle Foundation of NC. I published a quarterly magazine called The Park Guide for awhile, then came to work for NISS and SAMSI in 2008.

I really enjoy working with the mathematicians and statisticians. I always joke that I am the least educated person working here and that is not far from the truth! I am honored to help get the message out about all of the important research that is conducted here each day that is helping to improve the lives of so many people out there.

Ajay– Research Triangle or Silicon Valley– Which is better for tech people and why? Your opinion

Jamie– Both the Silicon Valley and Research Triangle are great regions for tech people to locate, but of course, I have to be biased and choose Research Triangle!

Really any place in the world that you find many universities working together with businesses and government, you have an area that will grow and thrive, because the collaborations help all of us generate new ideas, many of which blossom into new businesses, or new endeavors of research.

The quality of life in places such as the Research Triangle is great because you have people from around the world moving to a place, each bringing his/her culture, food, and uniqueness to this place, and enriching everyone else as a result.

Two advantages the Research Triangle has over Silicon Valley are that the Research Triangle has a bigger diversity of industries, so when the telecommunications industry busted back in 2001-02, the region took a hit, but the biotechnology industry was still growing, so unemployment rose, but not to the extent that other areas might have experienced.

The latest recession has hit us all very hard, so even this strategy has not made us immune to having high unemployment, but the Research Triangle region has been pegged by experts to be one of the first regions to emerge out of the Great Recession.

The other advantage I think we have is that our cost of living is still much more reasonable than Silicon Valley. It’s still possible to get a nice sized home, some land and not break the bank!

Ajay– How do you manage an active online social media presence, your job and your family. How important is balance in professional life and when young professional should realize this?

Jamie– Balance is everything, isn’t it? When I leave the office, I turn off my iPhone and disconnect from Twitter/Facebook etc.

I know that is not recommended by some folks, but I am a one person communications department and I love my family and friends and feel its important to devote time to them as well as to my career.

I think it is very important for young people to establish this early in their careers because if they don’t they will fall victim to working way too many hours and really, who loves you at the end of the day?

Your company may appreciate all you do for them, but if you leave, or you get sick and cannot work for them, you will be replaced

. Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrystler, said, “No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?” I think that is what is really most important in life.


Jamie Nunnelly has been in communications for 25 years. She is currently on the board of directors for Chatham County Economic Development Corporation and Leadership Triangle & is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators and the Public Relations Society of America. She earned a bachelor’s degree in interpersonal and public communications at Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree in mass communications at the University of South Florida.

You can contact Jamie at http://niss.org/content/jamie-nunnelly or on twitter at

Interview Shawn Kung Sr Director Aster Data

Here is an interview with Shawn Kung, Senior Director of Product Management at Aster Data. Shawn explains the difference between the various database technologies, Aster’s rising appeal to its unique technological approach and touches upon topics of various other interests as well to people in the BI and technology space.


Ajay -Describe your career journey from a high school student of science till today .Do you think science is a more lucrative career?

Shawn: My career journey has spanned over a decade in several Silicon Valley technology companies.  In both high school and my college studies at Princeton, I had a fervent interest in math and quantitative economics.  Silicon Valley drew me to companies like upstart procurement software maker Ariba and database giant Oracle.  I continued my studies by returning to get a Master’s in Management Science at Stanford before going on to lead core storage systems for nearly 5 years at NetApp and subsequently Aster.

Science (whether it is math, physics, economics, or the hard engineering sciences) provides a solid foundation.  It teaches you to think and test your assumptions – those are valuable skills that can lead to a both a financially lucrative and personally inspiring career.

Ajay- How would you describe the difference between Map Reduce and Hadoop and Oracle and SAS, DBMS and Teradata and Aster Data products to a class of undergraduate engineers ?

Shawn: Let’s start with the database guys – Oracle and Teradata.  They focus on structured data – data that has a logical schema and is manipulated via a standards-based structured query language (SQL).  Oracle tries to be everything to everyone – it does OLTP (low-latency transactions like credit card or stock trade execution apps) and some data warehousing (typically summary reporting).  Oracle’s data warehouse is not known for large-scale data warehousing and is more often used for back-office reporting.

Teradata is focused on data warehousing and scales very well, but is extremely expensive – it runs on high-end custom hardware and takes a mainframe approach to data processing.  This approach makes less sense as commodity hardware becomes more compute-rich and better software comes along to support large-scale MPP data warehousing.

SAS is very different – it’s not a relational database. It really offers an application platform for data analysis, specifically data mining.  Unlike Oracle and Teradata which is used by SQL developers and managed by DBAs, SAS is typically run in business units by data analysts – for example a quantitative marketing analyst, a statistician/mathematician, or a savvy engineer with a data mining/math background.  SAS is used to try to find patterns, understand behaviors, and offer predictive analytics that enable businesses to identify trends and make smarter decisions than their competitors.

Hadoop offers an open-source framework for large-scale data processing.  MapReduce is a component of Hadoop, which also contains multiple other modules including a distributed filesystem (HDFS).  MapReduce offers a programming paradigm for distributed computing (a parallel data flow processing framework).

Both Hadoop and MapReduce are catered toward the application developer or programmer.  It’s not catered for enterprise data centers or IT.  If you have a finite project in a line of business and want to get it done, Hadoop offers a low-cost way to do this.  For example, if you want to do large-scale data munging like aggregations, transformations, manipulations of unstructured data – Hadoop offers a solution for this without compromising on the performance of your main data warehouse.  Once the data munging is finished, the post-processed data set can be loaded into a database for interactive analysis or analytics. It is a great combination of big data technologies for certain use-cases.

Aster takes a very unique approach.  Our Aster nCluster software offers the best of all worlds – we offer the potential for deep analytics of SAS, the low-cost scalability and parallel processing of Hadoop/MapReduce, and the structured data advantages (schema, SQL, ACID compliance and transactional integrity, indexes, etc) of a relational database like Teradata and Oracle.  Often, we find complementary approaches and therefore view SAS and Hadoop/MapReduce as synergistic to a complete solution.  Data warehouses like Teradata and Oracle tend to be more competitive.

Ajay- What exciting products have you launched so far and what makes them unique both from a technical developer perspective and a business owner perspective

Shawn: Aster was the first-to-market to offer In-Database MapReduce, which provides the standards and familiarity of SQL and databases with the analytic power of MapReduce.  This is very unique as it offers technical developers and application programmers to write embedded procedural algorithms once, upload it, and allow business analysts or IT folks (SQL developers, DBAs, etc) to invoke these SQL-MapReduce functions forever.

It is highly polymorphic (re-usable), highly fault-tolerant, highly flexible (any language – Java, Python, Ruby, Perl, R statistical language, C# in the .NET world, etc) and natively massively parallel – all of which differentiate these SQL extensions from traditional dumb user-defined functions (UDFs).

Ajay- “I am happy with my databases and I don’t need too much diversity or experimentation in my systems”, says a CEO to you.

How do you convince him using quantitative numbers and not marketing adjectives?

Shawn: Aster has dozens of production customers including big-names like MySpace, LinkedIn, Akamai, Full Tilt Poker, comScore, and several yet-to-be-named retail and financial service accounts.  We have quantified proof points that show orders of magnitude improvements in scalability, performance, and analytic insights compared to incumbent or competitor solutions.  Our highly referenceable customers would be happy to discuss their positive experiences with the CEO.

But taking a step back, there’s a fundamental concept that this CEO needs to first understand.  The world is changing – data growth is proliferating due to the digitization of so many applications and the emergence of unstructured data and new data types.  Like the book “Competing on Analytics”, the world is shifting to a paradigm where companies that don’t take risks and push the limits on analytics will die like the dinosaurs.

IDC is projecting 10x+ growth in data over the next few years to zetabytes of aggregate data driven by digitization (Internet, digital television, RFID, etc).  The data is there and in order to compete effectively and understand your customers more intimately, you need a large-scale analytics solution like the one Aster nCluster offers.  If you hold off on experimentation and innovation, it will be too late by the time you realize you have a problem at hand.

Ajay- How important is work life balance for you?

Shawn: Very important.  I hang out with my wife most weekends – we do a lot of outdoors activities like hiking and gardening.  In Silicon Valley, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the rush of things.  Taking breaks, especially during the weekend, is important to recharge and re-energize to be as productive as possible.

Ajay- Are you looking for college interns and new hires what makes aster exciting for you so you are pumped up every day to go to work?

Shawn: We’re always looking for smart, innovative, and entrepreneurial new college grads and interns, especially on the technical side.  So if you are a computer science major or recent grad or graduate student, feel free to contact us for opportunities.

What makes Aster exciting is 2 things –

first, the people.  Everyone is very smart and innovative so you learn a tremendous amount, which is personally gratifying and professionally useful long-term.

Second, Aster is changing the world!

Distributed systems computing focused on big data processing and analytics – these are massive game-changers that will fundamentally change the landscape in data warehousing and analytics.  Traditional databases have been a oligopoly for over a generation – they haven’t been challenged and so the 1970’s based technology has stuck around.  The emergence of big data and low-cost commodity hardware has created a unique opportunity to carve out a brand new market…

what gets me pumped every day is I have the ability to contribute to a pioneer that is quickly becoming Silicon Valley’s next great success story!


Over the past decade, Shawn has led product management for some of Silicon Valley’s most successful and innovative technology companies.  Most recently, he spent nearly 5 years at Network Appliance leading Core Systems storage product management, where he oversaw the development of high availability software and Storage Systems hardware products that grew in annual revenue from $200M to nearly $800M.  Prior to NetApp, Shawn held senior product management and corporate strategy roles at Oracle Corporation and Ariba Inc.

Shawn holds an M.S. in Management Science and engineering from Stanford University, where he was awarded the Valentine Fellowship (endowed by Don Valentine of Sequoia Capital).  He also received a B.A. with high honors from Princeton University.

About Aster

Aster Data Systems is a proven leader in high-performance database systems for data warehousing and analytics – the first DBMS to tightly integrate SQL with MapReduce – providing deep insights on data analyzed on clusters of low-cost commodity hardware. The AsternCluster database cost-effectively powers frontline analytic applications for companies such as MySpace, aCerno (an Akamai company), and ShareThis.

Running on low-cost off-the-shelf hardware, and providing ‘hands-free’ administration, Aster enables enterprises to meet their data warehousing needs within their budget. Aster is headquartered in San Carlos, California and is backed by Sequoia Capital, JAFCO Ventures, IVP, Cambrian Ventures, and First-Round Capital, as well as industry visionaries including David Cheriton and Ron Conway.

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