An Interview with Joseph Hellerstein
by Nicole Hemsoth
MIT’s Technology Review provided some in-depth coverage on the top ten emerging technologies for the coming year. On a list that includes solar fuel, green concrete, and light-trapping photovoltaics the publication tacked on the concept of “cloud programming” — a revolutionary movement that is a attributed in large part to the work of Joseph Hellerstein and his team at the University of California, Berkeley.
Hellerstein and other researchers at Berkeley have created a language called “Bloom,” which has received a great deal of attention following its implementation in Hadoop. Hellerstein was able to make key alterations to Hadoop to render it less likely to hit critical points of failure and simplify scheduling processes among other unique “quick fixes”. The special ingredient in this language that makes it so functional and useful is simplicity—it casts aside the need to program around dependencies and unknowns, allowing for innovation and creativity versus what amounts to educated guesswork for programmers. While it’s not clear what immediate life-altering changes will be evident in HPC and enterprise computing upon the release date, the Bloom language is making cloud programming far more intuitive and applicable for a community far larger than a cluster of specialized infrastructure engineers. By removing the complex barriers to cloud programming there is no end in sight for new developments for cloud-specific platforms. The language will be released in full later in 2010 but it is already gathering great interest from cloud infrastructure providers among others.