Meet the ‘nerdiest rock star’: Matei Zaharia co-creator of Apache Spark

Billed by a colleague as a “truly nerdy rock star”, Matei Zaharia strolls onto the stage for his keynote to whoops of appreciation from a capacity Amsterdam crowd that can only be described as excitable: “I’m here because Spark is great,” says someone in the front row. In person he is every inch not the rock star, and still very much the UC Berkeley computing systems PhD (in fact he’s now an assistant professor at MIT) that a few short years ago tried to solve machine learning problems using Hadoop, an experience that led him to create Spark together with Benjamin Hindman and other colleagues. Slight, intense and amiable, he seems faintly bemused by the pace of change. “I’m still amazed at how fast it’s shifted. I used to know…


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