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Welcome to Day 1 of the 2018 ECC Conference

July 9, 2018

In this post, I am sharing with you the complete program for Day 1 of the 10th Annual Enterprise Computing Community Conference. I am also including my notes in the form of a brief description for the sessions that I attended, including both the keynote and different concurrent sessions. The sessions on Monday were interesting and useful—certainly among the best you can experience from a technology conference. 
 
Getting Started 
All of the sessions were in the Student Center on the third floor, except the Security Operations Center (SOC) demo. Registration and a continental breakfast went from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. The presentations started promptly at 9 a.m. 
 
At 9 a.m., Assistant Dean Susan Scanlon began explaining conference logistics. Next, Roger Norton, dean of Marist College, gave a brief history of the conference and then an overview of Marist College. Although this is the 10th annual conference, two years of planning made it a 12-year effort. From the start, the goal was to get enterprise computing back into the undergraduate curriculum. There are now 1,500 members of the community supported by eight industry and eight academic sponsors. 
 
Morning Keynote Speaker
Starting at 9:20 a.m., keynote speaker Don Duet gave a presentation titled “Edge Computing in Perspective.” Duet serves as the president and COO of Vapor.io. I knew something about edge computing before Duet’s talk, but he really opened all our minds to the importance of edge computing right now and well into the future. With the billions of devices coming online supported by a new generation of applications, it’s simply impractical to expect all that data to be sent to the relatively few data centers WW for processing. There is a need for edge devices close to the data and processing needs of the community. Not just devices but supporting networks. For more, please see his presentation.

Concurrent Sessions
Len Santalucia, who is a chairperson for the Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe Project, talked about the growth of open-source enterprise computing through (or supported by) the open mainframe project in a presentation called “Collaboration and Growth in Open Source Enterprise Computing with Open Mainframe Project.” The 30-minute presentation started at 10:40 a.m. The Open Mainframe Project community has traction with 30 member organizations, 15 intern sponsored, 15 interviews published on people working in mainframe, three TSC projects launched, three tech briefs on open source on the mainframe and One new s390x-supported Linux distribution (see page 26 of the presentation for a graphical list of members). For more, please see his presentation
 
Other presentations at this time included “The Gamification of IBM Enterprise Z in Higher Education Enhancing Self-Efficacy of Students” by Philip Grabowski of Pittsburgh Technical College and “Essential Blockchain” by Daniel Gisolfi of Marist College.
 
Casimer DeCusatis, faculty member professor at Marist College, took a large group of attendees to the SOC demo at the Hancock Center. The SOC is used to train students and to provide a platform for Marist development projects. Student use open source to develop security software that makes it into the SOC and some get into the marketplace. Although the SOC was an educational setting, one major display had read-only access to actual production data (attacks) that were taking place as we watched the demo. At this time, roughly 11:30 a.m. Eastern time, there had already been 125,000 attack attempts on the Marist College production systems from all around the world. This is nothing new for security people, but for the rest of us, it was shocking to see attacks come in for Russia, Turkey, all over Africa, Canada and the U.S. on the Marist systems. 
 
Other presentations at this time came from IBM’s Misty Decker, who presented “But Wait, There’s More! The IBM Z Academic Initiative” and Paul Cronan and David Douglas, form the University of Arkansas, who presented “The First Academic Blockchain Center of Excellence: The University of Arkansas Story.”
 
At noon, Mainline Information Systems sponsored lunch in the Great Hall of the Student Center overlooking the Hudson River.
 
Afternoon Keynote Speaker
After lunch, the keynote speaker was Irving Wladawsky-Berger, who has worked with IBM for more than 35 years and serves as visiting lecturer and research fellow at MIT”. His presentation was titled “The Changing Nature of Innovation in the 21st Century Digital Economy”.  Professor Wladawsky-Berger’s talk was unique because he reached back centuries, as necessary to make his point about change. His topics focused on four major areas:
 
  1. Continuing digital advances: mobile, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, etc.
  2. Emergence of big data: analytics, data science, artificial intelligence and more
  3. Critical importance of security, privacy and trust: transactions and block chain
  4. Impact on society:  Will there be enough work in the future?
For more, please see his presentation
 
Sessions Continue
At a little after 2 p.m., IBM’s Joanne Crimi, Jodi Everdon and Harold Ramsey presented “New Technology Introduction Early Client Programs.” I had lost touch with IBM’s early client programs so I attended this session to get an update. 
 
What is an early client program? An early client program is a partnership between IBM and clients with advantages. For example, IBM provides early hardware, software or both to clients for validation in their environments. Clients install, use, validate and then provide feedback on the early product. For more, please see their presentation
 
Andrew Brezovsky and Aparicio Carranza of Marist College presented “Cryptocurrency, Billions of Growth” at the same time. DeCusatis, presented “Identity Based Security for Commercial Blockchain Cloud Services.”
 
We took a break from sessions from 2:40 p.m. until 3 p.m. for a coffee break and technology showcase.
 
I then attended “How We’re Creating Mainframers,” which was an academic panel made up of Decker, IBM; Cronan, University of Arkansas; Phil Grabowski, Pittsburgh Technical College; Tal Parmenter, Illinois State Univeristy; Lorraine Newell, BOCES; and Robert Owor, Albany State University. 
 
During this session, academic panel members each spoke briefly on how they were teaching enterprise computing in their universities and colleges. There was significant diversity in the programs discussed. Some involved high school students and others catered to graduate students. Some programs were new whereas others were restarting or are mature in their acceptance. Newell, who taught high school students, made the biggest impression on me. “High school students can do mainframes.” Wow.
 
SHARE President Harry Williams, also of Marist College, presented “Open Mainframe Project and SHARE” while Christopher Byrnes of Marist College presented “Marist Digital Identity Initiative.”
 
Sessions continued with presentations by Paul Newton and Bryan Childs of IBM. Newton presented “Blockchain – Beyond Cryptocurrency Slot Machine” and Childs presented “Enterprise Knights of IBM Z.”
 
I attended “Machine Learning-Based Chatbots: An Overview, Analysis of Trust and Ethical Issues” by Pablo Rivas of Marist College. I found this presentation to be very stimulating. Actually, this topic is amazing. I wish that I had a chance to see it again as the topic was so new to me and I am afraid that I missed a lot. You have to look at the presentation to get the full picture of the topic—the technology, the ethical issues, the survey—the whole detailed exploration of Chatbots. By far, the audio examples on scheduling hair appointments and calling restaurants were stunning. The fact that software could handle these complex situations so effectively was both amazing and disconcerting. For more, please see his presentation
 
At 4:30, I attended “Securing IoT for Blockchain-based Healthcare” by featured speaker Tony Sager, senior vice president and CTO of commercial markets for BlackRidge Technology. This session was a wonderfully detailed exploration of healthcare devices that can make a real difference for people’s lives combined with blockchain to simply explore what can be done by combining these technologies. Tony is an engineer doing practical research by doing it and leveraging his many years of hands-on experience. He was confident and funny. For more, please see his presentation
 
Jill O’Sullivan and Sayem Shahrier of Farmingdale State College and Robert Lynch of Marist College helped wrap up the day. O’Sullivan and Shahrier presented “Disruptive Technologies Driving Students’ Advantages”  while Lynch presented “Assuring Time Accurate Transactions: Precision Time Protocol for Finance and Banking”.
 
Starting at 5 p.m., I enjoyed a riverfront barbecue sponsored by IBM. We had some good food and music in a relaxed setting at Marist. 
 
What’s Next?
Next week, I’ll cover the second day of the conference, including the keynote talks and the breakout sessions that I attended.
 

Posted July 9, 2018| Permalink

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