Sunday, March 05, 2006

ALAR Conference

Long time, no post. However, I'm back from the ALAR Conference and I have a little time, so I'll post. Hopefully, this won't be the last for a while. The ALAR Conference is a data engineering and grid computing conference put on by the Acxiom Laborator for Applied Research. There were a number of great presentations there. I had a paper accepted into the conference, so I got to speak as well.

I brought two important things away from the conference. The first is that I really miss research, especially applied research. I'm going to have to seriously consider how to inject research into my current job, or move on to something new. Research has been a part of my life for so long. In many ways, it defines who I am.

The second thing I took away from the conference was the need to examine distributed game programming. It appears to me that they have some insight on how to handle a massive number of incoming transactions. Sure, they cheat a little, but it might teach us how to cheat in similar or different ways. For instance, they use "realms" to limit the number of players on a single server. Data engineers can also mimic that by the use of a good, pre-defined partition key. They also allow lossy transactions. Since you're going to be sending another transaction in the next milisecond, it's ok if we drop one. I don't know how to replicate that ability with data, but I'm willing to investigate the possibility.

Lastly, it was a great chance to meet up with old friends both from the Corporate world and from the Academic world. I was amazed at how many people I actually knew there.

Well, until next time...

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