10 Year Anniversary Podcast Series

HPCC Systems 10 Year Open Source Anniversary

June 15, 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of HPCC Systems as an open source offering in the big data analytics market. Our 10 Year Anniversary Podcast Series showcases members of our HPCC Systems Community commemorating this milestone event. Hosted by Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology and CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, who leads the HPCC Systems open source initiative, this series of interviews highlights how the move to open source has made a positive impact to our users and to the platform through the many contributions from the community. Interviewees include colleagues from LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group who were involved from the beginning of the open source movement and others whose role is dedicated to supporting the community. Others include our academic partners and interns who use HPCC Systems in research and in the classroom, and key industry users who base their business model and leverage HPCC Systems as their technology platform. Listen to the stories they share on how the platform has evolved over the years, the success stories from community users who are now advocates and influencers, and announcements on new functionality in the next major release, upcoming training courses, and more.

Keep checking back for more interviews!

Celebrating 10 years of innovation, growth, and success in a vibrant community...

Now Available

Interviewee(s) and AffiliationEpisode SummaryResources

Arjuna Chala
Senior Director, HPCC Systems Solutions Lab
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Flavio kicks off with the introduction of this new podcast series to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of HPCC Systems as open source. He then welcomes Arjuna Chala as his first guest and one of the key people who helped bring HPCC Systems into the open source community. They begin by discussing how Hadoop was the only known player in the open source big data space and there was very little knowledge in the community about HPCC Systems, and how we overcame that challenge of educating people on what big data really means and emphasizing the efficiency of ECL. The conversation continues with how the terminology evolved along with the platform, and how today, COVID-19 is a classic Data Lake problem and HPCC Systems is a natural fit for drilling into uncover data insights easily and quickly. They conclude with sharing a few examples of customer success stories, including DataSeers, and how these use cases not only help the customer, but also contribute back to the platform – the true beauty of open source!

Bob Foreman
Senior Software Engineer
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Richard Taylor
Senior Consulting Software Engineer
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Flavio interviews Sr Software Engineer and ECL instructor, Bob Foreman, along with Sr Consulting Software Engineer and Chief Trainer, Richard Taylor, both with LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group to chat about their experiences in the training world of teaching ECL and HPCC Systems over the past ten years. First up, Richard tells the story of how the HPCC Systems platform was born in the late 1990s when there was a critical need for massively parallel processing of massive data sets – our first supercomputer. At that time Richard was the only trainer around to teach the platform and ECL language to our users, which then were our own employees and customers. Fast forward to 2011 when Bob Foreman joined the team as a second trainer which was perfect timing as that was when HPCC Systems became open source. Bob shares his passion and love for teaching and knew this was a huge step, and challenge, to introduce the platform and language to a new community. Training plays a vital role when wanting to build a strong community of users to learn, adopt and ultimately contribute back to the platform. This was no small task. Richard goes on to explain all the courses which were taught for a proprietary system had to be rewritten to fit the open source paradigm. Bob discusses how internal lingo and phrases had to change in order to make sense to a new set of users. They both were ready and eager to shift to a new way of teaching to accommodate an open source model. The benefits of open source brings in a wider community base across the globe, but with just two trainers, something innovative had to happen in order to support the reach of our growing community. This push gave birth to our first set of online self-paced classes, or “MOOCs” as Flavio likes to call them, and remote training. This became a game changer. Classes were filling up and hitting record breaking attendance with students from various locations around the world.

Over the years, the training materials and lessons evolved to meet the needs of the open source community and helping businesses solve real world data problems. Bob, the voice of the online lessons, shares the best satisfaction he receives from teaching is seeing one of his students excel from what they learned in his class and go on to build impressive solutions, not only for their business, but for ours too. The open source world introduced unique case studies we have never seen before and it is a true win to see how HPCC Systems is being leveraged across a variety of industries from our external community. Richard also touches on his new 3-book series, with the first one, Definitive HPCC Systems, available now on Amazon, which covers an overview of the platform, with the following books focusing more on ECL.

A big announcement is also unveiled! To commemorate the 10th anniversary with our HPCC Systems community, we are giving away the entire suite of online courses for FREE all year long in 2021! And there is more! Bob talks about the new set of Applied ECL courses covering Machine Learning, and coming soon, Embedded Languages. They are excited to expand the course material to support the evolution of the platform with the move to the cloud and all the 8.0 functionality ahead. 10 courses and counting – all free! The discussion closes with a recap of the excitement of all the success from the last 10 years and looking forward to what the next 10 years will bring. And don’t forget – FREE training in 2021!

Bahar Fardanian
Technology Evangelist
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

In this episode, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, has a chat with Bahar Fardanian, Technology Evangelist, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, whose role was specifically created to support our growing open source HPCC Systems community.

Bahar begins by sharing how her career evolved and her love of big data by working in healthcare analytics shortly after graduating with her Masters degree. She was hooked and knew this is where she wanted to focus her career! After attending a career fair looking for companies who were in the big data industry, she landed her first role with LexisNexis Risk Solutions on the data scoring team. Leveraging all the material found on the HPCC Systems website, she became very familiar with the platform and infrastructure prior to her first interview. It wasn’t too long until Bahar became one of our key HPCC Systems ambassadors working alongside many of our community members helping them with their big data projects. Seeing how this seemed to be a perfect fit with her passion, skills and influence, she landed a new role as a technology evangelist. This unique role also has a special focus on supporting our academic community where she has the opportunity to run hackathons, workshops - and new this year, she is teaching her very first big data course at her alma-mater, Kennesaw State University. She shares that it is an amazing experience to help students who start out with very little knowledge of big data, to seeing them now solve real-world problems as a result from her mentorship and teaching.

The benefit of having a data lake platform as open source allows these students to experience industry focused problems to ramp up their skills so they can be work-ready upon graduation. She looks forward to continuing to work with different universities and schools in the coming year. Bahar uses her own success story when speaking to students, especially females, and encourages them to follow their passion to find a job that allows them to do what they love. Everybody can do this! What a great feeling to know that the college student who stumbled across the LexisNexis booth at a Career Fair a few years ago, would now be the one at the “other side of the table”, evangelizing about the HPCC Systems platform and giving students the same opportunities to find their love with big data!

Dr. G Shobha
Professor, CSE Department
R V College of Engineering
Bengaluru, India

This next segment features our 2020 HPCC Systems Community Recognition Award winner, Dr. G Shobha, Professor, CSE Department from R V College of Engineering (RVCE) in Bengaluru, India speaking with our host, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group. Dr. Shobha begins by sharing how she learned about HPCC Systems in 2016 through a conference where Arjuna Chala delivered a keynote. Seeing how he was an alumni of RVCE, an instant connection was made and their collaboration journey started. The discussion continues with Dr. Shobha highlighting the number of projects her team has worked – seven in total so far, covering various aspects of HPCC Systems components. She explains how the benefits of working with an open source platform allows her students to contribute back to the community in the form of talks, papers and bundles. This gives them great exposure to real-world experience and also gives great visibility to the university as well. Dr. Shobha announces the new course she is teaching at the university on big data analytics leveraging HPCC Systems and looking forward to facilitating additional workshops and hackathons, not only at RVCE, but other local colleges in India, helping to further expand our International community!

Dan Camper
Senior Architect, HPCC Systems Solutions Lab
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, introduces Dan Camper, one of our founding HPCC Systems Community members, who now is an employee of LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group. Dan explains how he stumbled upon HPCC Systems by accident who was doing a Google search on something else. HPCC Systems appeared in the results and caught his interest and decided to “give it a whirl”. At the time he was looking for something to manage lots and lots of data and HPCC Systems was a natural fit. Dan shared he is a programmer at heart and loves to learn and build new languages. His passion with coding and working with data led him to a key position on the HPCC Systems core team which he has been advising and mentoring other users within our community. He is looking forward to the cloud movement and Kubernetes work with HPCC Systems to make it more dynamically scalable, which will be a huge game changer in this next release! Dan provided an update on the Data Patterns bundle he created and new data profiling capabilities available based on the needs and requests coming from the open source community. They conclude with Dan sharing new functionality users can might leverage with the move to the Cloud and interoperability with other languages. Dan ends with giving advice to inspiring programmers to don’t sell ECL short and don’t wait to “give it a whirl”.

Lili Xu
Software Engineer III
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Yash Mishra 
Software Engineer II
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

In this next episode of the HPCC Systems 10 year anniversary series, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, interviews two members from our academic community – who are now employees. Flavio welcomes Lili Xu and Yash Mishra, both who joined our community from Clemson University and also participated in our HPCC Systems internship program. Lili begins by sharing how she learned about HPCC Systems during her first PhD year through the Clemson University DICE lab managed by Dr Amy Apon. Her first taste of ECL was reading the ECL Programmers Guide which got her hooked to learn more about the platform. Today, you can see her mark in many projects including Machine Learning, NLP, DBSCAN, and her latest development, HSQL – a new language allowing SQL developers to easily work with HPCC Systems without ECL knowledge. Lili also shares her involvement as a mentor now, and how she enjoys working with students to learn HPCC Systems through facilitating workshops, hackathons and other events.

Yash has a similar story, also being part of the DICE lab, but learning about HPCC Systems through a cloud computing architecture class taught by Dr Apon. He was intrigued with the different aspects HPCC Systems could interact with the cloud. Seeing this was a major direction for our roadmap, Yash landed an internship working on leveraging Azure with HPCC Systems. He talks about his experience from working on the project and using Kubernetes to help fine-tune performance across the environment, which also helps with cost assessment for anyone who is venturing into the cloud native journey. Yash concludes by sharing what his new role as a Software Engineer on the MVR team entails and looks forward to the new challenges ahead.

Both Lili and Yash have made many contributions to the platform and will always be key members of the HPCC Systems community, and now, we are honored to have them as colleagues!

Claudio Amaral
Sr Director Software Engineering
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Hugo Watanuki
Sr Software Engineer
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, speaks with Claudio Amaral, Sr Director Software Engineering, and Hugo Watanuki, Sr Software Engineer, all with LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group. Claudio and Hugo work closely with our colleagues in the Alphaville, Brazil office. In this episode, they discuss how HPCC Systems got involved with academia in Brazil and the impact it has made to the wider international community. It all started in 2015 when Claudio delivered a talk as part of an academic event at Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Brazil. This was the spark that ignited HPCC Systems interest in Brazil which led to more participation and speaking opportunities in local events. Visibility was growing strong and in a matter of time, Claudio and his team formed our first HPCC Systems community in Brazil.

Leading up to when Hugo joined in 2019, the need for universities in Brazil to establish academic partnerships with data science experts was in high demand. Having ties with academia himself, this was perfect timing for Hugo to take the reigns of what Claudio started and expand further outreach. Hugo, alongside fellow colleague, Artur Baruchi, set out to engage with universities who were looking for three different areas of collaboration: 1) Teaching students big data analytical skills, 2) engaging in research projects, and 3) helping industry professionals obtain data science skills – all leveraging HPCC Systems.

Today, our Brazil community is one of the fastest growing among our international userbase. In 2020 alone, and with the onset of the pandemic, the team was able to reach nearly 50 cities across four different countries in South America. The team stays busy with facilitating a number of workshops, translating all the materials needed for documentation, website pages and training lessons into Portuguese. Relationships have continued to flourish with Federal University of Santa Catarina and new ones began with University of São Paulo. Interns from these academic partnerships are heavily involved in the community and have made contributions that support our HPCC Systems cloud native platform.

Watch the full episode to hear more from Claudio and Hugo on our thriving success with the HPCC Systems Community in Brazil. Feliz 10º aniversário HPCC Systems!

Dr. Borko Furht
Professor and Director of the NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center
Department of Computer & Electrical Engineering and Computer Science School of Computing
Florida Atlantic University

Dr. Taghi Khoshgoftaar
Motorola Professor
Department of Computer & Electrical Engineering and Computer Science School of Computing
Florida Atlantic University

As we continue our 10 year anniversary podcast series, this next episode features two of our longtime academic collaborators. Our host, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, welcomes Dr. Borko Furht and Dr. Taghi Khoshgoftaar from Florida Atlantic University (FAU). The relationship with FAU pre-dates our move to open source as LexisNexis Risk Solutions was among the first industry members to join the Center for Advanced Knowledge Enablement (CAKE), led by Dr. Borko Furht. This is a National Science Foundation (NSF) supported center that provides a framework for interaction between university faculty and industry in the growing areas of technology including data science, machine learning and data analytics. Borko explains this has been a great way to engage students in real world experience leveraging the HPCC Systems platform. In joint collaboration, successful outcomes have resulted in several handbooks, published papers and a number of presentations in deep learning, data mining, and research areas surrounding Ebola and COVID-19. As a mentor of many PhD students, who also interned with HPCC Systems, Taghi adds the exposure the students receive is instrumental in receiving an industry perspective to help launch their career path. Having someone from the LexisNexis HPCC Systems team as a guest speaker in class is a big supplement to the curriculum, as well as having access to ECL training materials and lessons for the students to learn the language and the platform. Furthermore, every industry member of CAKE also has access to these HPCC Systems resources.

FAU faculty and students have participated in every HPCC Systems Community Day event since its inception, contributing to our machine learning libraries, and have left their mark on our wall of fame winners page of those receiving awards and recognition. Our academic partnerships is what makes our HPCC Systems community thrive with innovative contributions and using the HPCC Systems platform in cutting edge research initiatives. This is a true win-win situation where we can have our CAKE and eat it too!

Taiowa Donovan
Robotics Program Director
PLTW Certified Design and Modeling(DM)/Robotics and Automation Instructor(AR)/Introduction to Engineering Design (IED)
Introduction to Robotics Honors I and Robotics Honors II Instructor
FIRST Robotics® Competition Team #5472 Coach/Founding Mentor
American Heritage School

In this next episode, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, speaks with Taiowa Donovan, Robotics Program Director and Instructor, American Heritage School, in Delray Beach Florida. Tai’s passion with mechanics and being an educator gave him the opportunity to start a robotics camp at the school which now has grown into a huge engineering and robotics program including six competition teams for over one hundred students in grades 4-12. Team 5472 Stallion Robotics was one of the first two teams HPCC Systems has sponsored in our academic program. Tai shares how this collaboration has made a huge impact to students, being able to take skills learned well beyond the robotics lab into the real world. Over the course of the five year relationship, Tai explains how the team has evolved, both academically and professionally. Being able to leverage open source resources, internship programs and mentors from industry has helped drive innovation and spark new ideas into their autonomous robot builds. Tai and his team make sure the robots they build have purpose. From a self-driving golf cart to an autonomous agricultural vehicle to a security facial recognition robot – these cutting edge inventions are helping collect and analyze data in critical ways needed in today’s society.

Be sure to listen to the full interview to hear more about his journey on how HPCC Systems has filled the gap in programming certain aspects of their builds, the success of his students participating in our HPCC Systems internship program, and what’s lurking in the lab that we might just see unveiled at our next Community Day event!

Dawn Tatum
Kennesaw State University
College of Computing & Software Engineering(CCSE)
Director of CCSE Partnerships and Engagements/Academic Coordinator for CCSE Internships/Senior Lecturer of Information Technology

The 10 year HPCC Systems anniversary podcast series continues as this next episode features Dawn Tatum, Director of CCSE Partnerships and Engagements and CCSE Academic Coordinator of Internships with Kennesaw State University, (KSU), one of our first academic collaborators not long after going open source. Throughout the years, our collaboration with KSU boasts many historic firsts for HPCC Systems. These include a named computer lab on campus, our first hackathon participation, the inaugural HPCC Systems scholarship, and our first official certification program for both undergraduate and graduate students. With a lot to cover, our host Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, jumps right into the discussion with Dawn about the many accomplishments achieved and student successes.

Dawn first learned about HPCC Systems when a KSU alumni, who happens to oversee the academic program for HPCC Systems, reached out about facilitating an HPCC Systems workshop on campus. Dawn was intrigued by the platform, the ECL language, and its open source benefits, which seemed like a perfect match for academia to leverage both in the classroom and research projects. Not long after the collaboration began, the HPCC Systems team took part as a sponsor in our first hackathon, and has been involved in their hackathon events every year since then. Dawn explains the benefits of using real world big data challenges from industry really help give students the skills and experience needed for starting their career journey into the workforce. Flavio agrees it is a win-win, as we acquire a ton of talent from internships and contributions gained from this collaboration, not to mention innovative approaches from fresh minds we have not encountered before. We’ve been fortunate to have KSU faculty and/or students take part in our annual Community Day event each year in the form of talks and poster presentations, with at least two students taking home 1st and 3rd place in the poster competition!

Be sure to catch the full episode to hear more from Dawn as she shares insights on the impact this collaboration has made to students, and of course, Flavio reflecting on all the fun times we had on this journey together. It’s been a real “hoot”! And what does that one KSU alumni think now? She is one happy wise old owl!

Dr. Ning Wang
Data Scientist
Senior Research Fellow, Oxford-Nie Financial Big Data Laboratory
Mathematical Institute at Oxford University

Dr. Hanqing Jin
Associate Professor
Director, Oxford-Nie Financial Big Data Laboratory
Mathematical Institute at Oxford University

This next episode of the HPCC Systems 10th Anniversary series spotlights our collaboration with the Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford in the UK. Dr Ning Wang and Dr Hanqing Jin have worked with HPCC Systems for the past few years on projects related to mathematical and behavior finance analysis. Our podcast host, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, talks to Ning and Hanqing about their experience from learning about HPCC Systems, how an open-source platform is a great advantage to academia, and how Oxford is leveraging it in research, in the classroom, and publishing recent papers about their work in academic and scientific journals.

With a data science background crossing over into mathematics, Ning was eager to look at different techniques to better analyze financial data patterns and trends. As Director of the Oxford-Nie Financial Big Data Lab, Hanqing has a particular interest in mathematical finance and applying machine learning in decision-based models. This research was a perfect fit for leveraging HPCC Systems. They go on to explain how the platform was used to apply imitation learning and image classification methods in the financial market to understand certain behaviors of traders. Their latest research involves using mathematical analysis to estimate several key parameters from the COVID-19 pandemic data using HPCC Systems.

We are proud to collaborate with the research and faculty team at the University of Oxford and look forward to continuing our partnership. Listen to the full episode to learn more about their research, published papers and ongoing work.

Raj Chandrasekaran
CTO, Co-Founder

Srini Sivasubramanian
Chief Data Scientist

As our 10 year anniversary podcast series continues, we are thrilled to spotlight our next guests from our industry user community. This episode features Raj Chandrasekaran, CTO, Co-Founder and Srini Sivasubramanian, Chief Data Scientist, both from ClearFunnel. Our host, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, chats with them about their experience from learning HPCC Systems from an industry partner perspective to launching a startup and using the platform for providing big data solution models as a service.

Raj and Srini are no strangers to the HPCC Systems community as they both have been instrumental members since the early days of going open source. Srini was one of our very first meetup speakers from industry to talk about his love for ECL and the platform. Being a technologist with a SQL background, Srini found it very easy leveraging the platform to derive and extract meaningful information from data. As CTO, Raj focuses on product solutions and finding the best service model for implementing the solution. When the time came to launch their startup, it was a complementary fit to look at HPCC Systems as a major component of their ecosystem, given its open source nature along with their vast experience with the technology.

While both Raj and Srini speak highly of our platform and are strong advocates, conversely, we are just as big of fans of theirs with all the knowledge, support and expertise they have contributed back to the community! Listen to the full episode to hear more about their story and how ClearFunnel is a great partner to help you implement and scale your big data analytics solutions.

Vijay Raghavan
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group
In timing with the 10 year anniversary date on June 15, 2021, our guest in this episode features Vijay Raghavan, EVP & CTO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group. Our host, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, speaks with Vijay about the strategy behind the open source decision, the early challenges with gaining adoption, and how the spark of innovation helped fuel momentum for wider growth from within the company and the external community. Watch the full episode to learn more about this journey, the evolving changes that has made the platform more mature, and the future direction of where the HPCC Systems platform is heading.

Lorraine Chapman
Consulting Business Analyst
HPCC Systems Intern Program Manager
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group
As we wrap up another successful HPCC Systems internship program, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, sits down with Lorraine Chapman, Consulting Business Analyst who has been managing the internship program since its inception in 2015. But first, they take a walk down memory lane as Lorraine has been involved with HPCC Systems well before our journey to open source began. Working closely with our platform team, she is at the forefront of what lies ahead on the roadmap and what opportunities are out there for the open source community to assist. This is where our internship program fits nicely. Lorraine explains the history of the program and how it got its launch as a spin-off from our participation in Google Summer of Code in 2015. We ended up with more projects than slots allowed, so why not create our own program. That first year we started with four students. This year in 2021, we had 12 students participate – our largest to date! The discussion continues talking about how the uniqueness of this program compared to the typical corporate internship program is better suited for an open source project, as there are mutual benefits for both the students and our company – not to mention all the contributions the wider community can leverage! We have seen amazing work and talent from high-schoolers through PhD levels as a direct result from this program. Catch the full episode to hear more from Flavio and Lorraine talking about the success and impact the HPCC Systems internship program has made, not only to the growth of our community, but also giving students an opportunity of a lifetime!

Trish McCall
Sr Director, Program Management, HPCC Systems
Co-Founder, The ADAM Program
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group
In this final episode of the 10 year anniversary podcast series, Flavio Villanustre speaks with Trish McCall, the producer of this series who is also closely tied to the HPCC Systems community leading a number of initiatives supporting community growth. She gives a little background on why it was so important to commemorate this 10 year milestone and showcase so many of our community members who were involved, and positively impacted, by open sourcing HPCC Systems. They go on to discuss the dynamics of the community and how it has evolved over the 10 years supported by a strong bond of passionate, dedicated users and advocates. Trish shares a few case studies and some of the successful programs we have developed which has benefited, not only the platform, but the people using HPCC Systems. They move on to talking about the history of our annual Community Day event and what attendees can expect to see on the agenda at the upcoming 8th annual HPCC Systems Community Virtual Summit. It will be a fully-packed day of great talks, keynotes, breakout sessions and poster displays, followed by machine learning workshops. A FREE event not to miss! They close with one last toast - "Happy 10 Year Anniversary HPCC Systems!" And that's a wrap!

HPCC Systems Platform Team Mini-Series
These talented technologists forming the platform team are the early adopters of new technology and get to work on the interoperability of many different tools with HPCC Systems. More recently, the move to the cloud is at the top of the roadmap with the team exploring, testing and configuring different methods to make your clustering environment in the cloud at its best. The HPCC Systems platform team is excited to sit on the front lines of working with different operating systems, containers and other bleeding edge technology to bring HPCC Systems into the next generation! Check back for additional episodes coming soon featuring this team!

Stuart "Stu" Ort
Sr Director Software Engineering
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Kunal Aswani 
Software Engineer III
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, kicks off the first of this mini-series as part of the 10 Year Anniversary podcast series featuring the platform team supporting HPCC Systems. In this episode, Flavio welcomes his first two guests, Stuart “Stu” Ort, Sr Director Software Engineering, and Kunal Aswani, Software Engineer III, both also with LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group. Having been with the company for 20 years now, Stu has been involved in a variety of roles from the early days through following the open source movement, so has experience from both sides with supporting internal users as well as the wider open community. He shares how changes to accommodate the open source community not only positively impacted the platform, but also career growth across his team. Stu explains the methods and approaches that were once used to serve the internal community had to adapt in order to serve a diverse and expanded userbase. He looked at this as an opportunity to improve and enhance a number of the responsibilities his team owns with support, security, documentation, installation practices and more.

Joining the team in 2014, a few years after going open source, Kunal’s main focus is working on the frontend of ECL Watch. His involvement and contributions has helped ECL Watch grow from a simple webpage to a more rich and robust web browser interface giving the users a visual story of their environment performance. Kunal prides himself on putting the user first and working to incorporate additional features that give users what they want in the most optimal way. This is why you can also find Kunal interacting with our users, serving as one of our key ambassadors in events, poster competitions and engaging with our wider external community.

Jim DeFabia
Consulting Software Engineer
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Greg Panagiotatos
Software Engineer III
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Continuing the 10 year anniversary podcasts, in the second installment of the HPCC Systems platform team mini-series, this episode features the documentation team responsible for producing the critical material our community needs to use the platform and its components. Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group sits down with Jim DeFabia, Consulting Software Engineer, and Greg Panagiotatos, Software Engineer III, both having decades of service years with the company. Jim kicks off the discussion explaining how going open source was a game changer for documentation, and the necessary shift to treating documentation as code with all the careful handling that comes with it, including version control, review cycle and merge requests. This not only allowed greater flexibility, but improved team collaboration. Greg’s background working in the legal and professional side of the company where documentation was the actual product, was a complimentary addition when he joined the team to open source HPCC Systems. His familiarity and experience working with open standards-based markup languages, like XML, helped generate the documentation to a more suitable format to accommodate an open source community.

Flavio emphasizes the fact that documentation plays a crucial role when deciding to go open source. A community cannot be formed with just releasing the code itself, proper documentation is a must-have. Over the years, both Jim and Greg have made many contributions to give our users very informative and easy to follow documentation. From tutorials, reference guides, how to videos, cook books, and best practices – (quite a few in multi-languages!) - the written words from Jim and Greg are engrained in every facet of the platform. Our community members depend, and rely heavily on documentation, and this team makes it a high priority to ensure our users can easily find the answer to their question. Throughout the forums, the website, the FAQs, and more, Jim and Greg are at the top of the BFF list with our community!

Michael Gardner
Software Engineer III
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Xiaoming "Ming" Wang
Sr Consulting Software Engineer
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

This third installment of the HPCC Systems platform team mini-series features our host, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, interviewing two of our technologists responsible for supporting the overall infrastructure, builds and releases, Michael Gardner, Software Engineer III and Xiaoming “Ming” Wang, Sr Consulting Software Engineer, both with LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group. Flavio begins with Ming giving a background on joining the company in 2013 with his initial focus on managing the builds and related tools. Now with the move to the cloud, his role has expanded to involve integrating third party solutions such as Kubernetes and AWS with HPCC Systems. Michael joined in 2014 through the internship program and began working on the administrative tools supporting the platform builds, and like Ming, has now shifted to more cloud management tasks, like Docker, helping to expand the HPCC Systems ecosystem.

Both explain the challenges with the shift from bare metal to the cloud and give insight on how it has been beneficial in many aspects from setting up a cluster, data storage, performance improvements, to deployment. Being an open source platform, they also have to keep in mind usability, and taking an adaptive approach for providing different builds and configurations for supporting a wide variety of users. Through our own cloud initiatives, Michael and Ming share tips on deployment strategies and stress the need for testing. This is where the open source community plays a big role in contributing feedback to help fine-tune the environment. Ming and Michael are very active in the community with delivering Tech Talks, presentations and also mentoring students in our internship program. Be sure to listen to the full episode to catch all the helpful information they share to help you with your cloud journey!

Russ Whitehead
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Kanghua "Kevin" Wang
Sr Consulting Software Engineer
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

The fourth episode of the Platform team mini-series includes interviews from Russ Whitehead, Architect, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group and Kanghua “Kevin” Wang, Sr Consulting SWE, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group talking about the importance of security in the HPCC Systems platform. Our host, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, begins with asking Russ about the early days before the platform was open source. Russ joined the company in 2008 and has always been working on the HPCC Systems platform. He explains the moment the decision was made to make the platform available to the open source community, security would become his major focus going forward. Kevin joined the company a few years earlier in 2005, and to this day, his primary responsibility is ESP services for ECL Watch.

Russ explains there was a lot of pertinent security changes that needed to happen in order to accommodate the open source community. Working together, Russ put into place a security manager framework which leverages Kevin’s user management service for robust authentication. Over time, this team has expanded the framework to accommodate pluggable security managers in which the community can customize permissions, roles, exceptions and other security features to meet their needs.

With the move to the cloud, both Russ and Kevin are working on new security models for better cloud support, which also aligns with our upcoming 8.0 release. Users will see extended ESP functionality for working with containers for improved deployment and performance. We all know that security is vital when it comes to protecting your data and environment. Our community relies heavily on our Security SMEs, Russ and Kevin, who help make HPCC Systems a mature and compelling solution!

Krishna Turlapathi
Director, Software Engineering
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Ken Rowland
Consulting Software Engineer
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

This latest episode as part of the HPCC Systems Platform team podcast mini-series features Krishna Turlapathi, Director Software Engineering, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, and Ken Rowland, Consulting Software Engineer, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group. Our host, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group begins with Ken, who shares how he got started with the company and the platform. One of the primary features Ken contributed was geo-fencing technology to better understand data within certain boundaries, and using ECL to make sense of that data. Krishna started with the company over a decade ago working very closely on the ROXIE component of HPCC Systems, which then was in its infancy stage prior to making it available to the open source community. Once that happened, Krishna’s main responsibility was migrating the legacy code to the open source version. His deep knowledge of ECL helped the team build the customizations needed to support all the products leveraging the platform.

Fast forward to current events, the big focus is the move to the cloud aligning with the next major 8.0 release. Ken explains there are many different metrics needed comparing the bare metal version to a cloud native environment. The need to accommodate more customization and enhanced metrics are key in order to diagnose certain aspects of the platform. In that regard, Ken is working on building a new metric system that allows different backend systems to plug in for better reporting. Krishna continues his work on ROXIE, making sure all the new features are up to standards for optimum performance. He explains the move to the cloud with 8.0 is a perfect fit with better efficiency.

Listen to the full episode to hear the latest they are working on with metrics, configuration tools and all the ECL development efforts underway to support the cloud and new 8.0 version.

Rodrigo Pastrana
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

James McMullan 
Sr Software Engineer
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

This next episode features our host, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, interviewing two esteemed technologists from our core HPCC Systems platform team, Rodrigo Pastrana, Architect, and James McMullan, Sr Software Engineer. Rodrigo joined the team right around the time the platform went open source, so he shares his insight on how the platform has evolved over the years by exposing our technology to the community. James started midway through our open source journey with one of his first projects tackling the integration of Spark with HPCC Systems. Both Rodrigo and James have developed many connectors and plugins to help build the bridge for working with datasets that utilized other open source projects. They explain this has not only helped expand our ecosystem, but also opened the door to new opportunities for creating additional interfaces to accommodate any data size or format. In order to support and grow our open source community, they continue to develop these modules that extend the capabilities of HPCC Systems, which are free to the community for integrating third party tools with the platform. They close with giving an update on some of the new work they are doing to help users better manage their data in the cloud, including improved logging, easy to read visualizations, and enhanced data movement across various formats. Yet another example of the benefits of open source, allowing the developer community to contribute different technology and come together to build something great!

Richard Chapman
VP and Head of Research & Development
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

As we near the final episodes of the Platform Team podcast mini-series, this latest interview features Richard Chapman, VP and Head of Research & Development, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, who leads the platform and core development teams behind HPCC Systems. Our host of the 10 year anniversary series, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, discusses with Richard how the birth of the platform over twenty years ago was in response to solving a storage problem which big mainframe equipment could not accommodate. Something more scalable was needed to manage the petabytes of data to sort more efficiently – and more importantly, faster. A small team of developers got together and created something like no other technology of its kind at the time. This was made up of a smaller cluster of computers, which we now know today as Thor and ROXIE, with an underlying declarative programming language, ECL. It wasn’t until a decade later when the decision was made to make this platform available as open source to leverage innovation and talent from the wider community.

They go on to discuss how unique contributions to the platform in the form of plugins, bundles, bug reports, and more, has made a positive impact with improving the codebase and introducing innovative ideas. These were welcomed not only from the external community and interns, but also across our internal userbase from other parts of the business. It helped create an “open source” mentality within our company sparking fresh ideas and resulting in lots of tangible benefits.

Before wrapping up, Richard talks about the new features available in the latest 8.0 release to support the cloud native environment and what’s ahead on the horizon. Flavio is left in eager anticipation of 9.0, which Richard promises he will be the first to know when it’s ready.

Be sure to watch the full episode to hear more and what the community can expect in future releases!

Christopher Lo
Sr Software Engineer
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

Godson "Godji" Fortil
Software Engineer I
LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group

As part of the 10 Year anniversary podcast, this final episode of the HPCC Systems Platform Team mini-series includes interviews with Christopher Lo, Sr Software Engineer, and Godson "Godji" Fortil Software Engineer I, both with LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group. They discuss with our host, Flavio Villanustre, VP Technology & CISO, LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group, how the move to open source has changed the dynamics of testing and tech support for accommodating our open source community.

Flavio begins with Chris who joined the team right when the platform was moving to open source, so his skills and expertise with testing could not have come at a better time. Godji is one of the newer members of the team who was brought on to help with infrastructure testing and build management. Both Chris and Godji play critical roles in supporting the platform, not only for the business, but also for the wider community. From the early days even through today, Chris has formed many bonds and connections with our community users, ensuring user experience is top notch. He is well known among our Forums helping to troubleshoot and answer questions. Anticipating what the developers might need to run their jobs more efficiently, Chris continues to work on creating more automation tasks for smoother system management. Godji explains with 8.0 and the move to the cloud has introduced a whole new mindset when testing. Functionality that may have passed bare metal testing scripts now need to adapt for being able to pass the test to function in the cloud world. So now he keeps busy with working on containerized methods towards the most optimized environment.

The community relies heavily on the work produced by Chris and Godji, which most of it is behind the scenes working on many iterations before sharing the final version with the wider userbase. This powerful team of two are at the front lines of all new releases, and in a sense, the first users of any new code being deployed. Watch the full episode to hear more from Chris and Godji as they share more insight and tips for users to help manage their HPCC Systems environments.

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