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The new Frontiers in Computing Systems group,  part of Columbia’s Data Science Institute, is hosting an inaugural full-day symposium, with leading speakers and panelists, to highlight the advances and grand challenges in Big Data infrastructure:  extreme-scale computing systems (hardware, parallel computing, software, databases) and their application to solve diverse cutting-edge problems in climate and ocean science, population-scale biomedical informatics, genomics, materials science, neuroscience, astrophysics and engineering.

The symposium includes an exciting keynote by Ruchir Puri, the chief architect of IBM’s Watson system, on "Engineering the Future of Cognitive Systems."  Other speakers include those developing state-of-art high-performance parallel computers and large-scale Python-based software platforms, as well as experts on computational problems in climate science, astrophysics, and protein folding simulation.

The event will include a keynote talk, lunch, two talk presentation sessions, a networking and poster session, and a panel of experts with audience participation.


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avatar for Brad Spiers

Brad Spiers

Micron Technology
Principal Solutions Architect

BRAD SPIERS is a Principal Solutions Architect at Micron Technology, Inc. He spent almost twenty years on Wall Street, building system solutions to solve business problems.  He worked at Bank of America as a Senior Vice President in Technology Infrastructure. He was the technical lead of their next-generation cloud infrastructure, called Project Greenfield, which used Openstack and newer technologies to optimize their private cloud of 100,000 servers.  Prior to Project Greenfield, Brad had been asked to work on securing external clouds that might be used by the bank.  His team was awarded 5 patents for how to use an external cloud in a secure way. 


When Brad first joined Bank of America, he led the adoption of graphics cards for Monte Carlo simulations.  This work avoided building an extra data center, with savings in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  He then joined a machine-learning startup called Context Relevant, where he ran the scalability and customer-facing teams.


Mr. Spiers received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993.  He worked in the Large-Scale Parallel Systems group.  Other members of this group went on to write MapReduce and other core technologies at Google.  He now works with clients to help solve their challenges in next-gen cloud, high-performance computing, big data and machine learning.