May 26, 2015

Tech Leader Urges Cloud Developers To Help Solve Real-World Problems

Chris McCandlish  /  Charleston Regional Business Journal

The cure for cancer could be living in the cloud.

The chief scientist for a California data management company said the solution to real-world problems, such as medical treatments, depend on a strong open-source, cloud-computing infrastructure.

Cloudera founder and chief scientist Jeff Hammerbacher also urged attendees at the {CODESHOW}SE 2015 tech conference in Charleston last week to continue developing downstream applications to leverage that data. More than 200 software professionals heard presenters explore topics surrounding "evolving the cloud" at the conference Thursday.

The lineup also included speakers from Google, Red Hat, CoreOS, Apigee, HashiCorp and Benefitfocus.

Hammerbacher, an assistant professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and a director on the board at Sage Bionetworks, explained the connections between open-source software –- a development model that allows anyone to contribute to a product's design –- and immunotherapy cancer treatments.

"If you take anything away from today, just know that better open-source software or cloud-computing infrastructure is very, very important to solving real-world problems like curing cancer," Hammerbacher said during his presentation, "Open-source cancer genomics."

Hammerbacher built and led the data team at Facebook before leaving the company to start Cloudera, which helps companies analyze, store and process large amounts of Web-based data.

Hammerbacher urged local software professionals to continue developing online data analysis and storage applications.

"Please continue the work you're doing, and pay some attention to some of the downstream applications," he said. "Because hopefully I'll be able to leverage some of the open-source software that people in this room generate to facilitate our work in curing cancer."

According to Ernest Andrade, director of the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation, open-source collaboration is what {CODESHOW}SE and Charleston's knowledge economy are all about.

"For the attendees, it allowed them to learn and be inspired about topics and dev-op strategies they may not have previously known about, and are now able to deploy in their respective companies to better serve their customers and make them more profitable," Andrade said.