Speaker interview: Andrew Psaltis

We are introducing to you some of the speakers of the next Berlin Buzzwords conference 2015. Therefore, we are interviewing #bbuzz speakers ahead of the conference. See what they responded …

Get to know Andrew Psaltis.

Could you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Andrew Psaltis; I’m a data engineer, author, educator and entrepreneur focused on building and teaching others how to build large-scale data-intensive systems. I specialize in solving hard data problems and building real-time data pipelines utilizing Spark, Storm, Kafka, Solr, Hadoop, and many other tools. I’m deeply entrenched in Streaming Data, Big Data Analytics and obsessed with delivering insight at the speed of thought. 

I am the author of Streaming Data by Manning, a Skillsoft speaker, and thoroughly enjoy speaking and teaching about technologies related to streaming and large scale data pipelines.
When I’m not working and writing, I love to spend time with my lovely wife and our two kids, coach U10 boy’s Lacrosse, take in as much Lacrosse as possible, bake (breads and pizza), hike, cycle, camp, and travel.

How did you get started developing software?
It seems like I have always been involved in software to some degree or another. However, it really got started for me when I was in grad school in the early 1990’s, pursuing a dual masters degrees in Biomechanics and Exercise Biochemistry. At the time the university could not afford the software to analyze our biomechanics research, so naturally we wrote it ourselves. At that moment I was hooked, I found my second love. However, it was not until the time that I saw friends that were completing their doctoral studies searching for and taking one of the few jobs in a remote location that I thought to myself – “You know I can continue my studies and be at the mercy of a job or I can follow this software passion and work anywhere I can speak the language”. As the saying goes, I made a left hand turn and never looked back.

What do you hope to accomplish by giving this talk?
I hope to accomplish several things: First to help inspire others to look at Spark Streaming and second to peel back the covers and take a look at how Spark Streaming works.

What do you expect?
I expect for me to learn as much from the audience and others as they get from me – I truly believe teaching is a two way street – and to have an amazing experience and soak it all in.

What will your talk be about, exactly?
My talk will be about peeling back the covers on Spark Streaming and digging into how it works. The intent is that if people understand how it works then they will be better positioned to be able to build amazing solutions using it. If time permits I would love to show an IoE example using Spark Streaming.

Have you enjoyed previous Berlin Buzzwords editions?
This is my second Berlin Buzzwords, 2014 was my first. I had an amazing experience last year and am very excited to be going back again in 2015.

What was the first Apache project you got in touch with?
Lucene. I have used it fairly regularly since late 2001 / early 2002. I love it and the tools that have evolved on-top of and around it, such as Solr and ElasticSearch.

Many of the nowadays buzzwordly talks have come from the Apache Software Foundation. What do you think makes Apache projects so successful in particular for communities developing complex software?
I think it strikes this amazing balance of very hard working, smart, energetic people that are after a common goal and all work towards the betterment of something. I have tried, as I am sure others have to replicate this model inside of organizations, but the organization always gets in the way of itself.

Anything you are planning to hack on during Berlin Buzzwords?
I would love to be hacking on adding some IoE input to Spark Streaming – would be great to perhaps use a watch, or some other device out in the wild to pull data in.

Where can attendees meet you at the conference in order to ask questions?
I plan on being there everyday and participating, hopefully it will not be hard to track me down. I am reachable on twitter @itmdata and via linked in.

Have you been to Berlin before? What did you enjoy the most?
Last year was the first time I visited Berlin and my time was too rushed, there was so much I wanted to see. This year my family is traveling with me and we are arriving two days early to try and see things. I am sure we will only see a fraction of what we would like to see.

Photo: cc-by-sa 2.0 Philipp Kaden

Corporate-Design: Extragestaltung, Margarethe Hausstätter
Ilustration: cyan, Berlin