PDL Visit Day 2019: Pat Helland (SalesForce)
If you squint hard enough, many of the challenges of distributed computing appear similar to the work done by the great physicists. Dang, those fellows were smart! Here, I examine some of the most important physics breakthroughs and draw some whimsical parallels to phenomena in the world of computing… just for fun.
Pat Helland has been working in distributed systems, databases, transaction processing, scalable systems, and fault tolerance since 1978. For most of the 1980s, Pat worked at Tandem Computers as the Chief Architect for TMF (Transaction Monitoring Facility), the transaction and recovery engine under NonStop SQL. After 3+ years designing a Cache Coherent Non-Uniform Memory Multiprocessor for HaL Computers (a subsidiary of Fujitsu), Pat moved to the Seattle area to work at Microsoft in 1994. There he was the architect for Microsoft Transaction Server, Distributed Transaction Coordinator, and a high performance messaging system called SQL Service Broker, which ships with SQL Server. Then, he was at Amazon working on the product catalog and other distributed systems projects including contributing to the original design for Dynamo. After returning to Microsoft in 2007, Pat worked on a number of projects including Cosmos, the scalable Big Data plumbing behind Bing. While working on Cosmos, Pat architected both a project to integrate database techniques into the massively parallel computations as well as a very high-throughput event processing engine. Since early 2012, Pat has worked at Salesforce.com in San Francisco. He is focusing on multi-tenanted database systems, scalable reliable infrastructure for storage, and software defined networking.