KVTA 1590 Interview on the AWS Cloud at CSUCI

Interview on the partnership between CSUCI and Amazon Web Services, Dec 7, 2020

Main Points of the interview:

  1. Can you explain what a“cloud” is for the laypeople?
    • In some sense it is giant warehouses filled with computers
    • But more importantly it is a new paradigm of computing, described often as on demand access to IT resources via the Internet with a pay-as-you-go plan
    • A good analogy is the power grid; instead of running your own generator, and its backup, and being responsible for its maintenance and operation, you connect to the grid, and outsource those responsibilities to the power company. Then you are just responsible for paying the bills. 
  2. Give a short history of the Cloud.
    • Started over a 100 years ago with the telegraph, smart terminal and operator at the edges, but “dumb” inside (just a cable and repeaters)
    • Then the telephone, dumb at the edges, but smart inside with the switchboard / circuit switching
    • Then the Internet, again flipping the paradigm, smart at the edges, dumb inside – 50 years ago
    • Finally the cloud, going back to the original, dumb at the edges, smart inside – 15 year ago
  3. How is Artificial Intelligence, in particular Machine Learning, connected to the Cloud?
    • Machine Learning is a method of computing where the computation is data driven, rather than instruction driven. A good example, is Optical Character Recognition – you can train the computer to recognize hand written digits, e.g., depositing a check the OCR software extracts the amount from the check.
    • The mathematical idea behind it is a perceptron, that models the neurons in the human brain, and this was first discovered in the 1960s but at that time we lacked the computer power to implement it in practice.
    • Suddenly, 15 years ago or so with the advent of the data center, more companies and institutions had access to the necessary computer power.
    • But since 5 years, maybe a little longer, individuals have access to it via the Cloud. Our AWS Pilot in Machine Learning – students have access to the latest.
  4. What are some examples of the Cloud?
    • Service that we all use: Dropbox, Netflix, Gmail, etc.
    • Your handheld device does not have a lot of compute power, so in some sense it is a portal into the cloud – google maps directions are computed for you in the cloud
  5. Is the cloud secure?
    • That is a very good question, but it does not have a yes/no answer. Security is assessed with risks and probabilities.
    • But, in general, a company like Dropbox has tremendous resources and expertise at its disposal to secure your data.
    • On the other hand, how secure is your data in on-premises solution? 
    • In any case, businesses are moving swiftly into the cloud, because the pricing is so attractive, but their number one concern is: will my data be secure? 
    • Famous saying of Gene Spafford: “The only truly secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards – and even then I have my doubts.
  6. What is the job market in the cloud?
    • Excellent, LinkedIn has listed cloud skill as the #1 skill searched for by employers since 2014.
    • That is why we have been growing our Cloud offering at CSUCI. 

How can I learn more about the cloud

  1. List of certification classes
  2. Link to sign up

Some media statements on working from home and the cloud



Experts say the rapid technological changes happening in medicine due to the pandemic also have profound implications for other types of businesses, government agencies, schools and religious institutions.

CSUCI computer science professor Michael Soltys says organizations of all kinds have been adapting quickly to new technologies like Internet-based meeting programs.

Michael Soltys. Photo courtesy of CSU Channel Islands

“Everybody’s on Zoom and working from home if they can,” said Soltys “It’s a massive shift.”

He also says some people are finding benefits from taking care of business at home.

“Of course there’s the joke about sitting in your pajamas at a meeting comfortably in your home with a cup of coffee, but you do save time on commuting. Meetings online tend to be more targeted and condensed and better scripted. They’re often recorded so people are better prepared. They’re not just hanging out in a meeting room killing time,” said Soltys. “People are going to become accustomed to those benefits and will want to have them.”

I recently (April 12, 2020) spoke with KCLU on COVID 19 and the Cloud.