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Research Coders, Urs Holzle, and Jeff Dean


Nicholas Carlson, BI, It Turns Out Google Co-founders Larry Page And Sergy Brin Are Actually Pretty Lousy Coders, here.

I’ve been reading early Googler Douglas Edwards’ excellent book about the company’s startup days.

It’s called “I’m Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59. You should buy it if startups fascinate you.

The book reveals that Page and Brin actually had little to do with making the code that powered Google back then.

Urs Hoelzle, OpenFlow@Google, here. Google Research page, here. Brawny cores beat wimpy cores, most of the time, here. THis is the guy who coauthored the book The Datacenter as a Computer

Open Networking Summit 2012 (
Tuesday Keynote

Slides can be found at:…

Jeff Dean, Google, here. MapReduce guy.

Selected Slides from Talks:

  • MIT Big Data Lecture Series, September, 2012: Living with Big Data: Challenges and Opportunities (joint talk with Sanjay Ghemawat)
  • Berkeley AMPLab Cloud Seminar talk, March, 2012: Achieving Rapid Response Times in Large Online Services
  • Stanford Computer Science Department Distinguished Computer Scientist Lecture lecture, November, 2010: Building Software Systems at Google and Lessons Learned
  • Symposium on Cloud Computing (SOCC) keynote, June, 2010: Evolution and Future Directions of Large-scale Storage and Computation Systems at Google
  • Web Search and Data Mining Conference (WSDM) keynote, February, 2009: Challenges in Building Large-Scale Information Retrieval Systems
  • Google Faculty Summit talk, July, 2008: Some Potential Areas for Future Research
  • Stanford CS295 class lecture, Spring, 2007: Software Engineering Advice from Building Large-Scale Distributed SystemsJeff Dean: What are all the Jeff Dean facts? , here
    • During his own Google interview, Jeff Dean was asked the  implications if P=NP were true.  He said, “P = 0 or N = 1.” Then, before  the interviewer had even finished laughing, Jeff examined Google’s  public certificate and wrote the private key on the whiteboard.
    • Compilers don’t warn Jeff Dean.   Jeff Dean warns compilers.
    • The rate at which Jeff Dean produces code jumped by a factor of 40  in late 2000 when he upgraded his keyboard to USB 2.0.
    • Jeff Dean builds his code before committing it, but only to check for compiler and linker bugs.
    • When Jeff Dean has an ergonomic evaluation, it is for the protection of his keyboard.
    • All pointers point to Jeff Dean.
    • gcc -O4 emails your code to Jeff Dean for a rewrite.

    More from the original author of Jeff Dean facts:

    • Jeff Dean once failed a Turing test when he correctly identified the 203rd Fibonacci number in less than a second.”
    • The speed of light in a vacuum used to be about 35 mph. Then Jeff Dean spent a weekend optimizing physics.”
    • Jeff Dean was born on December 31, 1969 at 11:48 PM. It took him twelve minutes to implement his first time counter.”
    • Jeff Dean eschews both Emacs and VI. He types his code into zcat, because it’s faster that way.
    • When Jeff Dean sends an ethernet frame there are no collisions because the competing frames retreat back up into the buffer memory on their source nic.
    • Unsatisfied with constant time, Jeff Dean created the world’s first O(1/n) algorithm.
    • When Jeff Dean goes on vacation, production services across Google mysteriously stop working within a few days. This is actually true.
    • Jeff Dean was forced to invent asynchronous APIs one day when he optimized a function so that it returned before it was invoked.
    • When Jeff Dean designs software, he first codes the binary and then writes the source as documentation.
    • Jeff Dean wrote an O(n^2) algorithm once. It was for the Traveling Salesman Problem.
    • Jeff Dean once implemented a web server in a single printf() call. Other engineers added thousands of lines of explanatory comments but still don’t understand exactly how it works. Today that program is the front-end to Google Search.
    • True: Jeff once simultaneously reduced all binary sizes by 3% AND raised the severity of a previously known low-priority python bug to critical-priority in a single change that contained no python code.
    • Jeff Dean can beat you at connect four. In three moves.
    • When your code has undefined behavior, you get a seg fault and corrupted data. When Jeff Dean’s code has undefined behavior, a unicorn rides in on a rainbow and gives everybody free ice cream.
    • When Jeff Dean fires up the profiler, loops unroll themselves in fear.
    • Jeff Dean is still waiting for mathematicians to discover the joke he hid in the digits of PI.
    • Jeff Dean’s keyboard has two keys: 1 and 0.
    • When Jeff has trouble sleeping, he Mapreduces sheep.
    • When Jeff Dean listens to mp3s, he just cats them to /dev/dsp and does the decoding in his head.
    • When Graham Bell invented the telephone, he saw a missed call from Jeff Dean.
    • Jeff Dean’s watch displays seconds since January 1st, 1970. He is never late.
    • Jeff starts his programming sessions with ‘cat > /dev/mem’.
    • One day Jeff Dean grabbed his Etch-a-Sketch instead of his laptop on his way out the door. On his way back home to get his real laptop, he programmed the Etch-a-Sketch to play Tetris.

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