Track Chair Interview: Abe Taha

Continuing our series of of track chair and speaker interviews. This short interview is with Track Chair for Hadoop Driven Business/Business Intelligence, Abe Taha, VP Data Science & Engineering, BlueKai. You can register for Hadoop Summit here, and see the detailed schedule here.

HS: What is exciting about your track this year?

AT: It is exciting to see the maturity and innovation of the uses-cases for Hadoop to solve business problems. A while ago ETL was the most practical use-case for Hadoop, but today we see it used to build innovative behavioral analytics products, to provide faster analytics and access to data, and to support sophisticated statistical and graph processing through integration with other open source software.

HS: Who were the judges in your track?

AT: We have an excellent group of judges in my track, who bring varying experience in Hadoop development and usage to solve real world problems. The judges include:

  • Volkmar Uhlig, from HStreaming
  • Michael Driscoll, from Metamarkets.
  • Steven Hillion, from Alpine Labs.
  • Paco Nathan, from Concurrent.
  • Gunther Hagleitner and Owen O’Malley, from Hortonworks

HS: What background and perspective do you bring to the Hadoop Summit selection process?

AT: I spent many years working with the Hadoop ecosystem on both sides of the fence: as a consumer of the technology where I built systems on top of Hadoop to understand user behavior and track and predict business performance, and as a tool developer to help developers and business analysts develop and deploy map-reduce and Hive code. The experience helps me shape the track to be a balance of useful business use cases that help people benefit from experience in the real-world, as well as learn about the new and cutting edge projects in the Hadoop ecosystem.

HS: What theme emerged from the talks in your track, this year?

AT: Building and improving products through the use of behavioral analytics, and high speed data ingestion and processing.

HS: What stands out as the most surprising thing about your track, this year?

The pleasant surprise is the abundance of high quality abstracts that describe useful real-world usage of Hadoop; it made the selection of the abstracts pretty difficult.

HS: What has changed this year in Hadoop, compared to last year?

The ecosystem is definitely maturing: initially it was about building the storage and execution frameworks and making them more efficient, and now there is a big focus on making the ecosystem more usable, and the analytics easier and faster through open source projects such as Impala, Drill, and Stinger.

HS: Thank you for all the efforts you and judges gave to making Hadoop Summit 2013 a great success. We’ll see you there.

As Vice President of Data Science and Engineering at BlueKai, Abe is responsible for the developing the strategy and infrastructure that manages and makes sense of the trillion bits of data that flows through BlueKai’s platform on a daily basis.

Prior to joining Bluekai, Abe was VP of Engineering at Karmasphere, where he oversaw product development and engineering for all product lines. Before that Abe was Senior Director of Engineering for Ask.com where he led engineering for all Dictionary.com properties. Previous to that, Abe was Director of Engineering at Ning where he worked on Hadoop-based solutions for Ning users and led development of the data platform and systems management services. Abe also managed development for the Google Apps Infrastructure at Google, and while at Yahoo! served as Senior Engineering Manager for several units including Del.icio.us, Social Search Platform, Search Platform and Listings Platform.