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Search - "bottleneck"
Biggest challenge I overcame as dev? One of many.
Avoiding a life sentence when the 'powers that be' targeted one of my libraries for the root cause of system performance issues and I didn't correct that accusation with a flame thrower.
What the accusation? What I named the library. Yep. The *name* was causing every single problem in the system.
Panorama (very, very expensive APM system at the time) identified my library in it's analysis, the calls to/from SQLServer was the bottleneck
We had one of Panorama's engineers on-site and he asked what (not the actual name) MyLibrary was and (I'll preface I did not know or involved in any of the so-called 'research') a crack team of developers+managers researched the system thoroughly and found MyLibrary was used in just about every project. I wrote the .Net 1.1 MyLibrary as a mini-ORM to simplify the execution of database code (stored procs, etc) and gracefully handle+log database exceptions (auto-logged details such as the target db, stored procedure name, parameter values, etc, everything you'd need to troubleshoot database errors). This was before Dapper and the other fancy tools used by kids these days.
By the time the news got to me, there was a team cobbled together who's only focus was to remove any/every trace of MyLibrary from the code base. Using Waterfall, they calculated it would take at least a year to remove+replace MyLibrary with the equivalent ADO.Net plumbing.
In a department wide meeting:
DeptMgr: "This day forward, no one is to use MyLibrary to access the database! It's slow, unprofessionally named, and the root cause of all the database issues."
Me: "What about MyLibrary is slow? It's excecuting standard the ADO.Net code. Only extra bit of code is the exception handling to capture the details when the exception is logged."
DeptMgr: "We've spent the last 6 weeks with the Panorama engineer and he's identified MyLibrary as the cause. Company has spent over $100,000 on this software and we have to make fact based decisions. Look at this slide ... "
<DeptMgr shows a histogram of the stacktrace, showing MyLibrary as the slowest>
Me: "You do realize that the execution time is the database call itself, not the code. In that example, the invoice call, it's the stored procedure that taking 5 seconds, not MyLibrary."
<at this point, DeptMgr is getting red-face mad>
AreaMgr: "Yes...yes...but if we stopped using MyLibrary, removing the unnecessary layers, will make the code run faster."
<typical headknodd-ers knod their heads in agreement>
Dev01: "The loading of MyLibrary takes CPU cycles away from code that supports our customers. Every CPU cycle counts."
Me: "I'm really confused. Maybe I'm looking at the data wrong. On the slide where you highlighted all the bottlenecks, the histogram shows the latency is the database, I mean...it's right there, in red. Am I looking at it wrong?"
<this was meeting with 20+ other devs, mgrs, a VP, the Panorama engineer>
DeptMgr: "Yes you are! I know MyLibrary is your baby. You need to check your ego at the door and face the facts. Your MyLibrary is a failed experiment and needs to be exterminated from this system!"
Fast forward 9 months, maybe 50% of the projects updated, come across the documentation left from the Panorama. Even after the removal of MyLibrary, there was zero increases in performance. The engineer recommended DBAs start optimizing their indexes and other N+1 problems discovered. I decide to ask the developer who lead the re-write.
Me: "I see that removing MyLibrary did nothing to improve performance."
Dev: "Yes, DeptMgr was pissed. He was ready to throw the Panorama engineer out a window when he said the problems were in the database all along. Didn't you say that?"
Me: "Um, so is this re-write project dead?"
Dev: "No. Removing MyLibrary introduced all kinds of bugs. All the boilerplate ADO.Net code caused a lot of unhandled exceptions, then we had to go back and write exception handling code."
Me: "What a failure. What dipshit would think writing more code leads to less bugs?"
Dev: "I know, I know. We're so far behind schedule. We had to come up with something. I ended up writing a library to make replacing MyLibrary easier. I called it KnightRider. Like the TV show. Everyone is excited to speed up their code with KnightRider. Same method names, same exception handling. All we have to do is replace MyLibrary with KnightRider and we're done."
Me: "Won't the bottlenecks then point to KnightRider?"
Dev: "Meh, not my problem. Panorama meets primarily with the DBAs and the networking team now. I doubt we ever use Panorama to look at our C# code."
Needless to say, I was (still) pissed that they had used MyLibrary as dirty word and a scapegoat for months when they *knew* where the problems were. Pissed enough for a flamethrower? Maybe.9
Oh dear, a scaling problem I solved was replacing some Regex matching with simpler string functions. While I'm a huge fan of Regex, it's unreal how much performance they can suck out of some high-n loops...
I got about 120x out of some critical code thus making a CPU upgrade unnecessary.8
A gigantic codebase of several tens of millions of loc [prolly hundreds of mill's as we don't see all of it] in java EE.
Very complex business logic where bells have their own whistles with their own bells with .... You get it.
Very fine-tuned performance to make app so performant that the only bottleneck becomes the db. The beefiest rds instance becomes too laggy [orm, so sqls are immutable]
Client moves to rewrite the whole thing in PHP. Motivation: lower TTM
PM: To achieve this, do A
Me: That's unnecessarily complex, can't we do B
PM: Ooh, so it's too complicated for you?
Me: No, it's complex, it will bottleneck the system
PM: We've done A in 5 different websites, so you should do the same
my hand is becoming a bottleneck.
it used to be slow device. upgraded.
it used to be mouse & IDE. upgraded to nvim.
now. my wrist gets sore.
waiting for Elons brain computer interface.9
In 2015 I sent an email to Google labs describing how pareidolia could be implemented algorithmically.
The basis is that a noise function put through a discriminator, could be used to train a generative function.
And now we have transformers.
I also told them if they looked back at the research they would very likely discover that dendrites were analog hubs, not just individual switches. Thats turned out to be true to.
I wrote to them in an email as far back as 2009 that attention was an under-researched topic. In 2017 someone finally got around to writing "attention is all you need."
I wrote that there were very likely basic correlates in the human brain for things like numbers, and simple concepts like color, shape, and basic relationships, that the brain used to bootstrap learning. We found out years later based on research, that this is the case.
I wrote almost a decade ago that personality systems were a means that genes could use to value-seek for efficient behaviors in unknowable environments, a form of adaption. We later found out that is probably true as well.
I came up with the "winning lottery ticket" hypothesis back in 2011, for why certain subgraphs of networks seemed to naturally learn faster than others. I didn't call it that though, it was just a question that arose because of all the "architecture thrashing" I saw in the research, why there were apparent large or marginal gains in slightly different architectures, when we had an explosion of different approaches. It seemed to me the most important difference between countless architectures, was initialization.
This thinking flowed naturally from some ideas about network sparsity (namely that it made no sense that networks should be fully connected, and we could probably train networks by intentionally dropping connections).
All the way back in 2007 I thought this was comparable to masking inputs in training, or a bottleneck architecture, though I didn't think to put an encoder and decoder back to back.
Nevertheless it goes to show, if you follow research real closely, how much low hanging fruit is actually out there to be discovered and worked on.
And to this day, google never fucking once got back to me.
I wonder if anyone ever actually read those emails...
Wait till they figure out "attention is all you need" isn't actually all you need.
p.s. something I read recently got me thinking. Decoders can also be viewed as resolving a manifold closer to an ideal form for some joint distribution. Think of it like your data as points on a balloon (the output of the bottleneck), and decoding as the process of expanding the balloon. In absolute terms, as the balloon expands, your points grow apart, but as long as the datapoints are not uniformly distributed, then *some* points will grow closer together *relatively* even as the surface expands and pushes points apart in the absolute.
In other words, for some symmetry, the encoder and bottleneck introduces an isotropy, and this step also happens to tease out anisotropy, information that was missed or produced by the encoder, which is distortions introduced by the architecture/approach, features of the data that got passed on through the bottleneck, or essentially hidden features.4
Today spent 20min in a senior android dev interview debating an ex backender CTO about the importance of final classes where he tried to pull out some sort of perfect answer from me about it. Ironically this is the same CTO who failed managing a previous android contractor who was supposed to rewrite old app and ended up with an even shittier new app in 6 months of time. Now they are insecure and are looking for a new contractor who will be micromanaged this time.
But hey I guess he knows the importance of final classes. Some CTO's need a reality check and at least some business training, because your perfectly written app is useless if it doesnt fulfill business needs.
Their app is based on heresdk and built around navigation. The biggest bottleneck is that it works shitty on low end devices so their competition solved this problem by using a whitelabel rooted tables with a custom ROM wher u have full control over hardware, permissions and battery management. However this startup thinks they can build a perfect navigation app which will work perfectly on all devices while at the same time while also relying on a poorly optimized navigation sdk. Poor initial strategy I'd say and they didnt learn from previous 2 failures, now they are searching for the next savior android contractor who will have to solely implement evrything.
Consider an API that uses the HTTP path to represent position in a tree that literally represents a file tree with minimal constraints, and GET/PUT/DELETE methods to read, write and destroy the nodes. How would you encode read/write operations to per-node metadata? The kinds of metadata are static and around 4, so inventing HTTP verbs for each of them is infeasible but filtering is not necessary.
Options considered so far:
- toplevel resources alongside a namespaced /data such as /acl, /lock
- magic keywords to the Range header (this is apparently compliant)
- mimetypes such as text/plain+acl
- SETPROP / PROP methods in the spirit of WebDAV
- headers (I worry this may become an immitigable bottleneck really fast)
I'm looking for any kind of suggestion or insight, not perfect answers.
I read the WebDAV specification and I won't even suggest that I'm trying to align with it, the only protocol I'd seen in the past with comparable scope bloat is WebRTC.23
Need advice about switching to contracting.
So I had 2 years of exp as an android dev, then I had a 1.5 year gap from doing android and now for the past 6 months Ive been doing android again fulltime. Im thinking of switching to contracting due to my debts and boring project and life crushing slow corporate processes in my current fulltime job, so I need tips and advices as to where should I start looking for new contracting gigs and in general what should I pay attention to. If it helps, I am based in EU, but am open to any EU/US gigs.
Now the full story:
Initially when I joined my current fulltime job after a break I had zero confidence, lowered my and employers expectations, joined as a junior but quickly picked up the latest standards and crushed it. Im doing better than half devs in my scrum team right now and would consider myself to be a mid level right now.
Asked for a 50% bump, manager kinda okayed it but the HQ overseas is taking a very long time to give me the actual bump. I have been waiting for 10 weeks already (lots of people in the decision chain were on and off vacations due to summer, also I guess manager sent this request to HQ too late, go figure). Anyways its becoming unnaceptable and I feel like its time for a change.
Now since I have mortgage and bills to pay, even with the bump that I requested that would leave me with like maximum 700-800 bucks a month after all expenses. I have debts of around 20k and paying them back at this rate would take 3 years at least and sounds like a not viable plan at all.
Also it does not help that the project Im working on is full of legacy and Im not learning anything new here. Corporate life seems to be very slow, lots of red tape kills creativity and so on. I remember in startups I was cooking features left and right each sprint, in here deploying a simple popup feature sometimes takes weeks due to incompetence in the chain. I miss the times where I worked in startups, did my job learned nre skills and after 6 months could jump on another exciting gig. Im not growing here anymore.
So because my ADD brain seems to be suited much better for working in startups, and also I need to make more money quick and I dont see a future in current company, I am thinking of going back to contracting. All I need right now is to build a few side apps, get them reviewed by seniors and fill my knowledge gaps. Then I plan of starting interviewing as a mid level or even a senior for that matter, since I worked with actual seniors and to be honest I dont think getting up to their level would be rocket science.
Only difference between mid and senior devs that I see atleast in my current company is that seniors are taking on responsibility more often, and they also take care of our tools, such as CD/CI, pipeline scripts, linters and etc. Usually seniors are the ones who do the research/investigations and then come up with actual tasks/stories for mids/juniors. Also seniors introduce new dependencies and update our stack, solve some performance issues and address bottlenecks and technical debt. I dont think its rocket science, also Ive been the sole dev responsible for apps in the past and always did decent work. Turns out all I needed was to test myself in an environment full of other devs, thats it. My only bottleneck was the imposter syndrome because I was a self taught dev who worked most of my career alone.
Anyways I posted here asking for some tips and advices on how to begin my search for new contract opportunities. I am living in EU, can you give me some decent sites where I could just start applying? Also I would appreciate any other tips opinions and feedback. Thanks!3