ACM ByteCast Archive

ACM ByteCast is a podcast series from ACM’s Practitioners Board in which hosts Rashmi Mohan and Jessica Bell interview researchers, practitioners and innovators who are at the intersection of computing research and practice. In each monthly episode, guests will share their experiences, the lessons they’ve learned, and their own visions for the future of computing.

Listen to past episodes below, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Theo Scholssnagle

In this episode of ACM ByteCast, Jessica Bell talks with widely respected industry thought leader Theo Schlossnagle, Founder and CTO at Circonus, Co-Chair of ACM Queue, member of the ACM Publications Board, and elected Member at Large on the ACM Council. He shares his journey from a love of problem solving to computing and entrepreneurship and how his work at school helping classmates solve difficult problems led him to create his first company and provide solutions to some of the biggest internet businesses in the world. He also provides valuable advice for companies just beyond the start-up phase and to young engineers interested in founding a business.

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Kristian Lum

In this episode of ACM ByteCast, Rashmi Mohan welcomes Kristian Lum to the podcast. Lum is part of the research faculty at the University of Pennsylvania's CIS Department. Previously, she was Lead Statistician at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG), where she led the project on criminal justice in the United States. She's widely known for her work on algorithmic fairness and predictive policing and is a key organizer of the ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (ACM FAccT).

Lum discusses her transition from math and statistics into computer science, and how her lab work in bioinformatics expanded her interest into social issues. They touch on the sensitive nature of data and privacy and gray areas in criminal justice data collection. Lum mentions some applications of her work, advising the NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice and partnering with the ACLU. She also describes a very timely project accounting for the time lag between COVID-19 infection and death. Finally, she traces her winding, fascinating career path from academic to industry and back.

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Radia Perlman

In this episode of ACM ByteCast, Jessica Bell is joined by Radia Perlman, ACM Fellow and renowned computer scientist, who has made fundamental contributions to Internet routing and bridging, including work on network resilience. Currently a Fellow at Dell EMC, Perlman is famous for writing the spanning tree protocol (STP), which powers the Ethernet. She reflects on her early days at MIT and later Digital Equipment Corporation, where she worked on DECnet, one of the first peer-to-peer network architectures, and how that inspired her doctoral thesis on routing in the face of malicious network failures. Perlman then relates how she wrote the algorithm behind STP “over a long weekend.” They also discuss the importance of teaching critical thinking in STEM education, healthy corporate culture, and the reciprocal value of mentorship.

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Donald Knuth

In this episode of ACM ByteCast, Rashmi Mohan is joined by 1974 ACM A.M. Turing Laureate Donald Knuth, author of the hugely popular textbook series, "The Art of Computer Programming." They discuss what led him to discover his love of computing as well as writing about computer programming, his outlook on how people learn technical skills, how his mentorship has helped him write “human oriented” programs, the problems he is still working to solve, and how his dissatisfaction with early digital typesetting led him to develop TeX, as well as his interest in playing and composing music for the pipe organ.

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John Hennessy & David Patterson

In this inaugural episode of ACM ByteCast, Rashmi Mohan is joined by 2017 ACM A.M. Turing Laureates John Hennessy and David Patterson. Their conversation touches on the paths that led these two luminaries to pursue computing careers and the "aha moment" that inspired their breakthrough work on RISC microprocessor architecture. They also discuss how they see the future of computing architecture unfolding in the coming years, the need for new memory technologies and better security, the importance of collaboration in innovation, and the promise of the open source community to develop both better software and hardware.

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