Polymath Engineer Weekly #24
Friday links for the curious mind
Hello again, glad you are here for some reads ;)
Links of the week
“In this experience report, a programmer at a medium-sized software company explains his tactics for bottom-up organizational change. The tactics are accompanied by personal recollections of related experiences.“
“Deep Learning researchers are exceptional. Every day more than 100 ML articles are published on Arxiv! We are flooded with new models that promise to solve problems better than the others, but we don’t have unifying rules to define AI architectures able to generalize their properties on all the possible data domains.”
“At Spotify we have three hundred or so engineering teams (or ‘squads’ as we call them) spread around the globe, and we tend to motivate ourselves more with carrots and less with sticks. We’ve seen a lot of success explaining, in creative ways, why a technology upgrade matters and how it helps our engineering community rather than doubling down on a mandate.“
“Each year hundreds of millions of dollars are thrown into solving this stuff, both in-house and in vendors. It is probably necessary work, it is messy work, and it is unrewarding in the small/only lasts until the next Big Bang Rewrite for the New God Endpoint flavor of the decade.
It feels inelegant though. We are brute forcing this problem by throwing endless bodies and time and money at it but this doesn’t solve it like email and terminal outputs and HTML have been ‘solved’.“
“Unfortunately, distributed algorithms are notoriously difficult to reason about, because they must uphold their guarantees regardless of the order in which messages are delivered, and even when some messages are lost or some processes crash. Many algorithms are very subtle, and informal reasoning is not sufficient for ensuring that they are correct. Moreover, the number of possible permutations and interleavings of concurrent activities quickly becomes too great for model-checkers to test exhaustively. For this reason, formal proofs of correctness are valuable for distributed algorithms.“
“I believe in doing deep dives. In doing one place for as long as I can, rather than running all around trying to see everything. To become a local, or at least blend in as best I can.
That means finding a single city, and spending all my time there, with only a few days dedicated to side trips, but side trips that residents actually do.“
Book of the week
Do you have any more links our community should read? Feel free to post them on the comments.
Have a nice week. 😉