2016: A Year in Review

2016 was a year of constant movement, I visited 19 cities, in 7 countries, on 3 continents.  In the middle of the year I switched teams inside of Twitter and began working on a new challenge, Distributed Build.  I also spoke 15 times at conferences and meetups.  Its been a really long, wonderful and exhausting year, filled with great people, travel to many exciting places, and new challenges.

Below is a summary of the articles, interviews, talks, and programming committees I participated in in 2016.

Articles & Books

My article “The Verification of a Distributed System” was published in  the February issue of Communications of the ACM.  I also began writing Go this year and wrote a Blog Post “A Quick Guide to Testing in Golang” describing the testing methodologies and project setup I use with my team.

I also was a Technical Editor for James Turnbull’s The Art of Monitoring.

Interview & Podcasts

At QConNY I recorded a podcast about Engineering Effectiveness at Twitter and Verifying Distributed Systems.  I was also honored to be included in Helena Dagmar’s Techies Project, which captured the images and stories of silicon valley tech employees who are usually underrepresented.

Myself & Ines Sombra giving a Keynote at Velocity Santa Clara

Programming Committees

I participated in several programming committees this year both academic and industry focused.  I was an industry member of the Principles and Practices of Computing for Distributed Data Workshop co-located with EuroSys.  I also hosted a track on Data & Distributed Systems at GOTO Chicago 2016, and finally I was on the inaugural programming committee for Systems We Love, a one day conference inspired by Papers We Love, but focused on Computer Systems.


After a lot of positive feedback and based on numerous requests I gave versions of my talk Scaling Stateful Services at CraftConf, CurryOn, and at Nike Tech Talks.

I turned my article The Verification of Distributed Systems into a talk, now with more rantifestos, and gave it at GOTO Chicago, QCon New York, and YOW Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney.

At the end of June I was honored to give a keynote at Velocity Santa Clara alongside Ines Sombra called So We Hear You Like Papers 2 in which we discuss the academic paper Unreliable Failure Detectors for Reliable Distributed Systems and how it applies to our jobs in industry.

Also at the end of June I spoke at Monitorama about Tackling Alert Fatigue, which summarized the strategies my team used over the past half year to reduce the number of critical alerts the Twitter Observability Services fired by 50%.

Members of my Distributed Systems Track at GOTO Chicago: Christopher Meiklejohn, Myself, Boaz Avital, Peter Bailis, and Aysylu Greenberg

Christopher Meiklejohn and I gave an academic and industry perspective on the Remote Procedure Call in a talk at CodeMesh called A Brief History of Distributed Programming: RPC, and a second time at YOW Brisbane.

I also spoke at three different chapters of Papers We Love this year, bringing my total PWL talks to 5.  In April I filled in last minute for a cancelled speaker at the San Francisco chapter and spoke about Sagas.  While in New York for QCon I also spoke at a special edition of Papers We Love New York, along with Eric Brewer, Evelina Gabasova, and Ines Sombra, on my favorite paper of 2014 Simple Testing Can Prevent Most Critical Failures.  Finally, while in Portland for Monitorama I spoke at the newly formed PDX chapter about Detection of Mutual Inconsistency in Distributed Systems.

I also combined all my Github talk repos into one repo CaitieM20/Talks, which contains references and links to slides and videos for each talk.