Monthly Archives: November 2012

CSI Conference: Big Data and Analytics – Dec 8

Big Data has a Billion Dollar market and expected to create 4.4 Million IT jobs globally by 2015. This Big Data conference is a step-by-step guide on critical aspects that the IT professionals and students must know. The take-away from the conference will be 360 degree overview on technologies and applications in Big Data domain.

Program Contents

  • Keynote:
    • Perspective on Big Data by Anand Deshpande, Persistent
  • Tools and techniques:
    • Learn about Hadoop, Hive etc. by Kalpak Shah, Clogeny
    • Data Warehousing and Big Data by Akshay Bogawat, Infosys
  • Big Data and Analytics Implementation:
    • Retail Sector by Deepak Badhani, Sears
    • Media and Publishing by Sayali Kulkarni, PubMatic
    • Enterprise by Karan Gujral, IBM
  • Panel:
    • Big Data, Big Challenges by Roby John (Tap-to-Learn), Girish Mujumdar (VMWare), Karan Gujral (IBM), etc.

Fees and Registration

This event is open for anybody to attend. Fees: Rs. 800 for CSI members, and Rs. 1000 for others. Please register here

(Note: PuneTech has a policy of not promoting paid events, but in this case, the fees are reasonable, and CSI is a non-commercial organization, so we felt an exception was justified.)

Call For Speakers: WordCamp Pune 2013 (WordPress Developers)

(Update: This event has been postponed to 23/24 February. See updated details below.)

Word Camp is a gathering of all the WordPress lovers in Pune on 23rd & 24th of February, 2013.

It is organized by the WPoets, Span Shah, and volunteers from students of Modern College, where developers, designers, bloggers and casual users can attend talks and workshops, exchange ideas and mingle in an informal setting.

If you are someone who is a WordPress developer, or has used WordPress in an interesting way, or just have some interesting talk to give to an audience of wordpress lovers, you should submit a talk proposal

For more information, see the WordCamp Pune website.

Turing100 Event Report: Work of Butler Lampson – Systems

(This is a live-blog of Neeran Karnik‘s talk on Butler Lampson, as part of the Turing100 Lecture Series happening at Persistent. Since it is being typed during the talk, please forgive the typos and bad structuring of the article. This article is also very incomplete.)

Butler Lampson has contributions in a wide area of computer science fields. Here is the Turing Award Citation:

For contributions to the development of distributed, personal computing environments and the technology for their implementation: workstations, networks, operating systems, programming systems, displays, security and document publishing.

The number of different areas of computer science touched there is breathtaking.

Systems Built

Here is just a sampling of some of the work of Lampson that resulted in entire areas of computer hardware and software:

  • The first personal computer:
    • The first personal computer in the world, the Xerox Alto, was conceived in a 1972 memo written by Lampson.
    • Important contributions of the Alto:
      • First “personal” computer
      • First computer that used a desktop metaphor
      • First computer to use a mouse-driven graphical interface
    • Lampson later work on the follow-up workstation designs Dorado and Wildflower (research products) which later resulted in a successful commercial product (Star).
  • The Bravo Editor
    • Lampson designed the first WYSIWYG editor in the world in 1974. This shipped with the Xerox Alto. This work can ultimately be seen to have led to the development of Microsoft Word
  • The Xerox 9700 and Dover Laser Printers
    • The first laser printer was designed in 1969 at Xerox Parc and Lampson worked on the electronic design of it.
  • The SDS 940 Time-sharing system
    • The first general-purpose time-sharing system.

And those were just the systems he built.

What about more fundamental contributions to computer science? Here is a list:

  • The two-phase commit protocol.
    • This is the fundamental building block of all transactional processing in databases that are spread out across machines and/or geographies.
  • The CAL time-sharing system
  • Programming Languages
    • MESA and SPL: for systems programming. Modern threads developed from here
    • Euclid: first programming language to use verification
  • Security:
    • Access matrix model, unifying capabilities and ACLs
    • Theory of principals speaking for other principals
    • Microsoft Palladium
    • Scrubbing disk storage
    • Research on how economic factors affect security
  • Networking
    • Co-inventor of ethernet!

How is Systems Research different?

Butler Lampson was one of the few great computer scientists who spent a lot of in the laboratory with actual hardware, getting his hands dirty. This is not the kind of work normally associated with Turing award winners, but it is the kind of work that has really given us the actual hardware that we use in computer science today.

Some thoughts on why systems programming is different more difficult.

Designing and building large computing systems, or complex computing systems or both. Computers (from tablets to supercomputers), networks, storage and other hardware and OS, programming languages, and other infrastructure software.

Systems design is different from other parts of computers science (e.g. algorithm design) because it’s external interface is to the real world (and hence it is imprecise, subject to change, and generally underspecified), lots of moving parts (i.e. more internal structure and more internal interfaces), module-level design choices have wider implications on the end product, and measure of success is less clear than in other fields. There is no such thing as an optimal answer, so avoiding terrible designs is more important than finding the most optimal one.

Hints on Computer System Design

This is a paper written by Lampson giving hints on how to build good systems. He uses hints, because in systems work, there are no infallible rules. So there are just hints which guide your thinking. Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, who oversees some of the most complex and scalable computing infrastructure in the world is a fan of this work. He finds these hints very useful, and says that they are more important today because they’ve withstood the test of time

These hints talk about functionality (what you’re doing), speed (are you doing it quickly enough), and fault-tolerance (and will you keep doing it) In systems, the interface design is the most important part. Do this well and other stuff will follow.

  • Hints about Functionality/Interface:

    • Do one thing at a time, and do it well
      • KISS – Keep it Short Stupid
      • Don’t generalize – because generalizations are wrong
      • Don’t overload interfaces with too much work
      • “Perfection is reached not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away” – Antoine de St. Exupery
    • An interface should capture the minimum essentials
      • Don’t promise more than you can deliver
    • Cost of an interface should be predictable
    • Better to have basic and fast functionality, rather than slow and complex
      • Clients who need speed, are happy with the basic+fast interface
      • Clients how need complexity, can build it on top of your basics
    • Don’t hide the power
      • If a lower layer abstraction is more powerful, a higher layer abstraction should not hide that power. It should expose the power. The abstraction should only conceal undesirable properties
    • Keep the basic interfaces stable; parts of the system that will be used by many different modules should not change
    • Treat the first system that you’re building as a prototype that you will throw away
    • Divide and conquer
      • Reduce the problem to smaller pieces that you can solve more easily
      • Bite of as much as you can handle right now, and then leave the rest for the next iteration.
  • Hints on Speed

    • Split resources in a fixed way, rather than a sharing way
      • Do not spend too much effort in trying to share resources
      • Overhead of multiplexing usually not worth it
      • Fixed allocation this makes things faster, and more predictable
    • Cache Answers to Expensive Computations
    • Dynamic Translation
      • Use different representations for use of some structure vs. implementation of the same, and then dynamically translate between them.
      • “All problems in computer science can be solved by adding a level of indirection”
    • Use hints
      • i.e. things that don’t have to be 100% accurate, but can improve performance if they are correct
      • For example, the routing tables in internet packet routing. They can be incorrect, out-of-date. In most cases, they work, and give great performance. Rarely, they don’t work, and you can recover.
    • When in doubt, use brute force
      • Hardware is cheap
      • Brute force allows for cheaper faster implementation
      • e.g. chess-playing computers that use brute force have defeated grandmasters, while complex algorithms trying to “understand” chess.
    • Compute in the background whenever possible
      • e.g. if a webpage update results in an email being sent, the email sending should happen in the background.
    • Use batch processing when possible
    • Safety First
      • Correctness is more important than speed
      • Being clever and optimal is over-rated
      • A general purpose system cannot really optimize, because it doesn’t really know the use cases
      • Hardware is cheap
  • Hints for Fault Tolerance
    • End-to-End Error Recovery
      • “Error detection and recover at the application level is necessary. Error detection and recovery at lower layers is not necessary, and should only be done for performance reasons.”
      • Saltzer et. all, classic 1984 paper
      • Example: if transferring file from one computer to another there are lots and lots of steps (file being transferred from storage to memory to network), and in lots of sub-tasks (transferring chunks of file)
    • Lot updates to record the truth about an object state
      • Current state of the object in memory is a hint
      • The true state of the object is what can be recovered from the storage and logs
    • Actions should be atomic or restartable
      • Either an action is all-or-nothing, or if there is a failure in between the action should be able to restart from where it left off

Lampson himself suggests that reading the whole hints paper at once might be tiresome, so it is better to read it in small doses at bedtime. And he points out that he himself has ignored most of these hints sometimes, but then has always regretted them.

Sanitation Hackathon – Pune Dec 1-2

The Sanitation Hackathon challenges programmers to develop innovative software solutions that address real-world problems in sanitation.

In December 1-2 2012, technologists will team up with sanitation subject experts in an intensive marathon to find innovative solutions to challenges facing the sanitation sector.

The event, organized by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program in partnership with the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) and Infosys in India in addition to dozens of local and global partners, will take place around the simultaneously in several cities around the world.

What is a Hackathon?

A hack-a-thon event (also known as an apps challenge, hack day, hackfest, or codefest) is an intensive marathon competition of brainstorming and computer programming that draws together the talent and creativity of software developers and designers.

Problem Definitions:

During the months leading up to the event, experts on sanitation and members of the public will create, submit and vote on “problem definitions” that highlight specific sanitation challenges that could be mitigated by innovative ICTs.

Then, during a weekend-long marathon event, teams of programmers in cities around the world will develop innovative solutions to these problem definitions.


In India, the first brainstorming event was held in Delhi on 27 September 2012, the second in Pune on 12 October, 2012.

The final event – Sanitation Hackathon – will be held in Pune from 1-2 Dec 2012.


More information is forthcoming and you can also contact the following persons for further details:

  • Raghavendra Raju –
  • Vandana Mehra –
  • Vivek Raman –
  • Ravi Joseph –
  • Ammu Menon –

Fees and Registration

The event will be held from Saturday, 1st December, 9am to Sunday 2nd December, 6:30pm, at Infosys Campus, Pune.

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. Please register here

Turing100 Lecture: Butler Lampson – Systems, Security, Verification and more – Nov 24

In 1992, Butler Lampson received the Turing award in for his contributions to the development of distributed, personal computing environments and the technology for their implementation: workstations, networks, operating systems, programming systems, displays, security and document publishing.

On Saturday, 24th November, Neeran Karnik, Senior Architect at BMC Software, will give a talk about Butler Lampson’s work. This talk is a part of the Turing Awards monthly lecture series that happens at Persistent’s Dewang Mehta Auditorium.

This will be followed by a session on [“Experience Sharing – Systems design and development Projects in India”]. The speakers include Dr. Basant Rajan, CEO of Coriolis Software (previously CTO of Symantec India), and Abhay Ghaisas, Product Development Architect BMC Software.

The event is free for everyone to attend. Register here

About the Turing Awards

The Turing awards, named after Alan Turing, given every year, are the highest achievement that a computer scientist can earn. And the contributions of each Turing award winner are then, arguably, the most important topics in computer science.

About Turing 100 @ Persistent Lecture Series

This year, the Turing 100 @ Persistent lecture series will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth by having a monthly lecture series. Each lecture will be presented by an eminent personality from the computer science / technology community in India, and will cover the work done by one Turing award winner.

The lecture series will feature talks on Ted Codd (Relational Databases), Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn (Internet), Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie (Unix), Jim Gray, Barbara Liskov, and others. Full schedule is here

This is a lecture series that any one in the field of computer science must attend. These lectures will cover the fundamentals of computer science, and all of them are very relevant today.

Fees and Registration

This is a free event. Anyone can attend.

The event will be at Dewang Mehta Auditorium, Persistent Systems, SB Road, from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday 24th November. This event is free and open for anybody to attend. Register here

BioCrats – Life Sciences & Software Conference – 7 Dec

BioCrats is a Persistent Systems’ initiative with an aim to build a vibrant scientific community in the field of life sciences by connecting, sharing and moving on basis of exchanging ideas.

‘BioCrats Connect’ Convention is a half day interactive session, bringing together leading industrialists, scholars and academicians. It’s a platform to interact and discuss science, research and development activities and industry practices with a focus on promoting innovation and research. BioCrats Connect also provides a unique venue for advancing the academic debate, offering a wide perspective and a variety of networking opportunities for researchers. For the 7th ‘BioCrats Connect’ Convention, Venture Center, NCL, Pune is also a collaborating partner.

BioCrats will be held on Friday 7th December, 2012 – 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm- at Dewang Mehta Auditorium, Persistent, Pune.

Check this page for details of the agenda, schedule etc.

Fees and Registration

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. Please register here

PuneConnect 2012 application date extended to 19 Nov

Since this is Diwali Week, and people are on vacation, we have received a number of requests to extend the deadline for submission. The deadline has now been extended until end of day, Monday, 19th November.

For details of how and what to submit, see the Submit A Proposal page at For more information about PuneConnect itself, see [the original Pune Connect call for applications[(

Remember, this event is absolutely free for all participants, so you have no excuse to not apply.

(Note: all those who have already submitted applications, you should have received an email acknowledgement. If you have not received an acknowledgement, please re-submit your proposal, or leave a comment on this post and we’ll get in touch with you.)

Here are some selected testimonials from companies that presented at PuneConnect 2011:

Anand Kekre, CEO and Co-founder of Vaultize

Overall it was a good experience in PuneConnect 2011. We got some publicity as well as used the “Best Startup” accolade and ET Now coverage in our marketing. […] I would recommend such events to all startups.

Saurabh Jain, Co-founder, Intellista Software Studios:

The PuneConnect experience was really helpful.


However, I thought the following were really helpful:

  1. Getting insightful feedback from many experienced and senior people from the Indian startup ecosystem – who have been there and done that. This is difficult to get for many young startups with few connections.
  2. We were short listed for the ETNow show – which as an interesting experience in itself 🙂 Taught us a few things on how to pitch, especially on the TV. The feedback by the judges helped too.
  3. We got to get the entire team out (even though it was just four of us) and everyone got to pitch and explain to other people what our product does. This is always helpful and provides good exposure to the team. And lets face it, how often do we get such chances?
  4. The format of the event was such that we did not have to spend a LOT of time preparing for it – maybe a couple of days. Which is always good – because you do not end up wasting time.

Overall, the event lived up to more than my expectations and we all had a great time.

Rahul Sawant, Director, BizPorto:

It was indeed excellent initial push for bizporto. One of the early recognition by 4 prominent organizations together gave us confidence to move ahead. Well, we couldn’t get into the ET Now session nevertheless the opportunity was big. The visibility through this event was big & it helped us networking with few industry dignitaries & we are getting an excellent guidance from them in running the business.

Pune’s HelpShift (Infinitely Beta) gets $3.25 million funding

Pune company Helpshift (previously known as Infinitely Beta), which is focusing on helping mobile app developers do better customer service, has received $3.25 million in funding from True Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners.

According to TechCrunch

Last year, Abinash Tripathy and Baishampayan Ghose founded Helpshift to address what they perceived to be a significantly underserved market in customer service: Mobile. After months of testing their mobile solution, the startup is getting ready to pull the curtains back on its business.

Basically the product is:

[a] mobile-focused, SaaS solution, which aims to be “the first embedded support desk for native apps,” allowing developers to capture device info from their users so that they can troubleshoot problems quicker and more effectively.


To do so, Helpshift provides a native SDK that integrates with mobile apps to offer an “in app” customer experience that remains true to the look and feel of the app, rather than shoehorning its own design into each different mobile UX. Helpshift’s support screens can be customized to match the app’s visual style and is designed, the co-founder and CEO says, to be instantly searchable and available in offline mode, i.e. when a device isn’t connected to the network.

For more details about Helpshift’s product, see also PandoDaily’s coverage.

PuneTech readers would be familiar with Abinash Tripathy and Baishampayan Ghose the co-founders of Helpshift. A few years ago, Abinash started the company, then known as Infinitely Beta, whose first product was the website However, they shut down to focus on “” last year. has morphed into Helpshift.

PuneConnect 2012: An event to connect Pune Startups to Enterprises – 1 Dec

After the huge success of PuneConnect 2011, we are back again with PuneConnect 2012, a mega event for Pune startups to showcase their products and services to the world at large, and specifically to larger companies in Pune. PuneConnect 2012 will be on 1st December 2012, and the idea behind the event is to allow the best startups in Pune a platform where they can find customers, mentors, business partners, affiliates amongst Pune’s established companies, and successful senior entrepreneurs.

PuneConnect is a joint initiative of Software Exporters Association of Pune (SEAP), TiE Pune, (POCC), PuneTech, and NASSCOM. SEAP and NASSCOM have large communities of established companies, and, TiE Pune and PuneTech represent thriving communities of Pune’s young startups. PuneConnect represents a one-of-its-kind activity that bridges the gap between the new companies and the established ones.

Any startup company from Pune or nearby areas, who has a product that they would like to demo, should submit a proposal by following the instructions at A panel of selectors drawn from experts in the industry will select the most promising startups who will be allowed to set up a stall at PuneConnect on 1st December.

Benefits to selected startups include:

  • Exposure to Pune’s top companies, potential customers and potential mentors
  • Exposure to Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors who are being
    invited to the event
  • Press and media coverage before and after the event
  • Winners of the event get automatic entries to other country-level events (e.g. those organized by NASSCOM)

PuneConnect 2011 showcased 12 Pune startups. All the companies got a lot of exposure to potential customers, angel investors, VCs and media.

Media Coverage: The Financial Express, the Financial Chronicle, Business Standard, and the top Marathi newspapers Sakal and Maharashtra Times all carried detailed articles about PuneConnect and the companies. All 12 companies got mentions in various articles. One company, World Without Me, got a half-page article in Pune Mirror as a direct result of being featured in PuneConnect 2011.

Entries to other prestigious events: 4 of the selected companies (InnovizeTech, ReliScore, DroidCloud, and AdMogul) were selected to be featured on an episode ETNow TV Channel’s Starting Up show. 4 of the companies (kPoint, Vaultize, InnovizeTech and DroidCloud) were selected for participation in a national-level conference organized by Zinnov, where they got to demo their products to companies from all over India. Two of the companies (BizPorto, and InTouchId) went on to be a part of the TiE Pune Nurture Initiative where they got in-depth mentoring in becoming ready for funding.

Funding: DroidCloud (now known as AppSurfer) got an invitation to the SuperAngels show on the ETNow Channel as a direct result of being in PuneConnect 2011, and a chance to win Rs. 1 crore in funding on the show. AppSurfer actually went on to win the show and secure the funding.

If you’re interested