Introducing Sun Tech Days, Beijing and Keynote Jim Hughes

I'm here in Beijing, the city ever-growing toward a goal of the Summer Olympics in 2008. It's a strange time to be here with all the "almost-there" construction including huge blocks of apartment and office buildings unoccupied and unlit at night giving the city an abandoned rather than overexcited ambiance until you get into the middle of it all, and then there is a frenzy of activity, bright lights, music, bicycles, cars, buses, and trucks, all competing for attention.

Sun Tech Days 2007 Beijing is being held in the conference center in the Chaoyang District. "Occupying 47,038 square kilometres ( of land and with a population of 2.52 million, it is the largest and densest district in Beijing. Chaoyang's natural look is enhanced by seasonal changes and eight rivers that wind their way through the district resulting in a beautiful combination of nature and urban modernization," According to this official Beijing website."

I was here touring China a decade ago and I remember Sanlitun Street as vibrant but primitive (dirt alleyway, dance clubs with no bathrooms), but WOW, have things changed! But that's the nightlife and I'm getting ahead of myself. My "daylife" in Beijing will center around technology--the solid, proven technologies as well as the trends led by Sun Microsystems to be presented at Sun's Tech Days here to this city's up-and-coming engineers hungry for the latest information, technologies, and tools.

After registration and introductions tomorrow morning--and before the technical sessions led by Sun's enthusiastic evangelism team in the afternoon--Sun Fellow Jim Hughes will keynote. I dug up some facts about him for you, and here they are, culled from a very good Contrarian Minds article titled The Security of Data at Rest: Ensuring that stored-and-stolen equals stolen-and-useless by Al Riske.

Jim Hughes

Title: Sun Fellow and Vice President

Job: Responsible for driving the technology behind a key aspect of Sun's data management strategy and architecture -- the security of data at rest.

Expertise: Networking, storage, cryptography, information security.

Claim to Fame: Recognizing, early on, the importance of encrypted storage.

Quote: "Any smart person can design a complicated solution. It takes more than that to create a simple solution."

Background: More than 30 years of experience in the computer industry, including stints at Control Data, Network Systems, StorageTek, and now Sun Microsystems.

Education: One college course, two junior college courses.

Little-Known Fact: Has no college degree.

Patents: 11 issued, several more pending.

What He Wanted to be When He Grew Up: "This. I was programming computers in high school and it just stuck. To program a computer in 1970 was not a common thing, but it just came naturally to me."

Accomplishments: Did pioneering work in VPN Routers, gigabit encryption, and firewalling of ATM data networks. Designed some of the first 32-port Gigabit HIPPI switches for the switching of storage systems to high-performance supercomputers. Designed the cryptography in "The Security Router" and "Borderguard" -- one of the first successful VPN routers.

Affiliations: Senior member of IEEE. Chairs the IEEE P1619 Security in Storage workgroup and the IEEE-CS Technical Committee on Computer Elements.

Why He Does What He Does: "It's all about learning new things, and when you learn new things it helps you do the job."

Hobby: Flying airplanes.

Passion: New ideas.

Last Book Read: Core Java 2, Volumes 1 & 2. ("I hadn't used Java in eight years because at that time it didn't seem complete. The language seems absolutely beautiful now.")

Favorite Food: Yes.

Pet Peeve: People who don't realize how much they don't know.

Most-Admired Person: Alan Turing.

What Keeps Him up at Night: "How to make my research relevant to the rest of the company."

What's Next: "The Web is going to turn into a read-and-write resource. How is privacy going to happen? VPNs are not the answer. File encryption as it is practiced today is not the answer. So how do we make infinite and free storage, which is what the Web will be, usable and secure?"

I'll report tomorrow on what he has to say, I'm sure it'll be interesting and humorous. Until then...

Carla King reporting from Beijing on Sun Tech Days.


Hi Carla, I'll be attending the tech day tomorrow - I'll look out for you. My colleagues are giving a demo in the afternoon - I'm sure you know which demo I'm talking about - and I'm really looking forward to the whole experience.

Will you be making the trip to the Sydney Tech Day in March 08?

Posted by James C. McPherson on October 30, 2007 at 09:26 PM PDT #

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