Narayanan Shivakumar Speaks at VanHPC

Picture of Narayanan Shivakuma

Last Thursday (July 27th) I attended the VanHPC meeting with speaker Narayanan 'Shiva' Shivakumar, founding director of Google's Seattle-Kirkland R&D Center. He's a very good speaker with a wry sense of humour and was extremely generous about answering questions. His talk, while interesting, didn't have quite the depth I had hoped for.

Shivakumar started the talk with some interesting pictures of the early Google. The PC motherboards sitting on cardboard in 19-inch racks was quite a site! The prize for the best phrased question of the evening goes to the person who prefaced his question about recycling old computers with "My inner hippy is dying to ask this".

He discussed, more or less, three aspects of the operation:

  • Hardware Infrastructure
  • Software Infrastructure
    • Google file system
    • MapReduce
    • BigTable
  • Applications (Search, etc)