Helena Edelson about massive scale distributed systems and massively big data

Helena (@helenaedelson) has been a Software Engineer for over 15 years. After a decade in distributed messaging she moved exclusively to working with Scala, first for cloud infrastructure automation, then big data, all for large scale distributed systems. As a Senior Cloud Engineer she was on the first Scala team at VMware building multi-tenant cloud automation systems, then in big data architecting, building and deploying streaming and batch analytics pipelines for Cyber Security for real time threat analysis.

She is a committer to several open source projects including the Spark Cassandra Connector, Cassandra Kafka Connector, a previous contributor to Akka (2 new features in Akka Cluster), Spring Integration and several others. She is also a speaker at international Big Data and Scala conferences such as Kafka Summit, Spark Summit (Europe and the US), Strata NYC, Strata San Jose, QCon SF, Scala Days (Europe and the US), Scala World, Data Days, and Philly Emerging Technology. Helena is also a Cassandra MVP.

Markus E: “Thank you so much for taking the time out of your packed days to have this little interview with me. Everybody is a first time speaker at this years Reactive Summit.
What are your personal expectations?”

Helena: “Learning new things and strategies, seeing everyone I know again, meeting new people. Hopefully giving back to the community with something attempting to be of value and helpful based on my experience.”

ME: “What is your talk about? Why did you pick the topic and since when are you working in this area?”

H: “I spend way too much time thinking about fault tolerance in distributed systems, the problems of working with distributed systems, and have been working with reactive technologies for a very long time, as well as machine learning and analytics for fast data. Thought I’d put it all together.”

ME: “What is your background as programmer? What was the most difficult
thing to learn when starting to work with Reactive Applications.”
H: “I started with java, and dove right into async messaging systems for a decade, then 7 yrs of scala/akka (and never left until…) big data, analytics, ML etc and now I’m seeing where I can actually bring it back into massive scale distributed systems and massively big data – which is extremely different than startup smaller systems. The most difficult – i don’t know, I dug it from the beginning, it was intuitive. I guess learning how to test was a bit of a challenge early on, but I wouldn’t call it hard, it was extremely interesting to learn. The fun was changing how you think and design. I loved Scala from day 1 and haven’t touched Java for about 8 years now. ”
ME: “If you look at the Reactive Summit schedule, what is the one talk
you look forward to the most and why?”

H: “The GearPump talk, Jan’s talks are always great, everyone from lightbend… Jonas is one of my favorite speakers, Norman’s. But mostly seeing @palvaro speak – in person!!! He’s such an amazing speaker, the topics blow my mind and are so right on. I think his keynote is the one I am most looking forward to.”

Make sure to listen to Helena’s session Tuesday, October 4 • 10:00am – 10:50am”Reactive Distributed Systems for Streaming Big Data, Analytics & ML

If you have particular things you are interested in, please reach out to me on twitter or leave a comment. I am really looking forward to the reactive summit. If you haven’t already, there is still some time and we have some seats left! Register today!

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