Fun places I have worked at

Over the years, I have worked in the academia, first at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics of School of Physics and Astronomy of the Faculty of Exact Sciences of Tel Aviv University, where I also got my Ph.D., then at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the Eberly College of Science of the Pennsylvania State University and at the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Oh, and during my Ph.D. studies I had a wonderful opportunity to spend some time at SISSA in Trieste. 

After I decided to leap from the ivory tower of academic life into the real world, I was fortunate enough to work at Bloomberg, where I was responsible for developing vanilla and exotic option pricing models and software for the world equity, currency, and commodity markets. That was my first professional experience in the world of finance and trading, quantitative analysis of sophisticated derivative instruments, and my first really close contact with very demanding customers - an interaction that I grew to love and value.

After quite a few years at Bloomberg, I spent some time at a couple of pretty interesting startups dealing mostly with networking, and after that I worked for a number of years at the IBM Haifa Research Labs.

What did I do at IBM? My work was mostly related to novel computer system architectures and system software. I was involved in the Blue Gene project (more specifically its job management system), operating systems research, virtualization and virtualization management, to some extent in iSCSI and iBOOT (boot over iSCSI), some technologies related to distributed systems and remote storage management, especially in the context of IBM BladeCenter, and some new ideas in computer architecture, e.g., an "IP-Only Server" that has only a single unified I/O channel - the network. I even led an exploratory ("adventurous", in IBM Research parlance) research project on Collaborative Driving Systems. The project aimed to look at the future of computerized and interconnected intelligent vehicles, road infrastructure, and traffic control systems.

IBM does some really cool stuff. For instance, Blue Gene/L, once built, became officially the fastest supercomputer in the world (see also here). I keep following the advances for fun and for curiosity's sake. In the November 2012 Top 500 list there are three Blue Gene/Q systems (successors to the earlier Blue Gene/L and Blue Gene/P) in the top 5, and the forth is also in the top 10. The fastest of these systems, code-named Sequoia, broke another scalability record recently: a single parallel application was run on a million cores!

I also taught Operating Systems at the University of Haifa. I taught a basic OS course to undegraduates and an advanced OS course.

In 2007 I was offered the position of Director of Systems Architecture at Voltaire (since then acquired by Mellanox), where I was until 2009. This was attractive enough (and close to home in Herzlia) to leave both IBM and Haifa U. Voltaire gave me an opportunity to work on some of the most advanced networking technologies in the world, and some of the fastest supercomputers, too. In fact, in November 2007 Top500 listed two Blue Gene systems and two Voltaire systems among the top five. In June 2008 IBM's Roadrunner supplanted Blue Gene as the fastest computer on the face of the planet, breaking the petaflop performance barrier, thanks to Voltaire's InfiniBand switches. In the June 2009 Top 500 list Roadrunner and 4 Blue Gene systems occupy 5 spots in the top 10. In the November 2012 Top 500 list there at least two FDR InfiniBand systems in the top 10. Our financial industry clients also loved sub-microsecond latencies our technology provided.

In 2009 I went back to the world of finance. This might have seemed unfashionable with all the screams in the media about how the financial industry was to blame for all the problems - real or perceived - on the face of the planet. Well, the media know neither less nor more on this topic than on any other area of human endeavour, for instance your chosen profession. And the percentage of incompetents is roughly the same in the financial industry as in any other technical field. The same is true regarding the percentage of really talented people with a lot of integrity. I was, in fact, longing to get back to finance, the field is very intellectually challenging and rewarding, and the attitude of my friends and colleagues had been very supportive, in some cases with a hint of intellectual jealousy of the fact that I had the background and experience to make the switch.

So I became the Director of Research at a company called TraderTools. The company offers a full complement of liquidity management tools for Foreign Exchange trading desks of financial institutions (such as banks and brokers), including market data aggregation, order and execution management systems, a trader's dealing and position management workstations, smart order routing, pricing engine, trading strategy engine for automatic hedging and dealing, etc. TraderTools' liquidity provider partners include most of the world's top tier banks and ECNs, and the amount of business done through our system is very respectable (without going into too much detail, let me mention billions of dollars on a daily basis - per customer). TraderTools provides its Liquidity Management Platform suite as a hosted service (SaaS) or as a customer insallation.

"Research" in my title was as remote from any ivory towers as could be: I was in the business  strategy division and my job was identifying our customers' business needs and spearheading development of technology that will answer these needs optimally. And yes, this meant I did quite a bit of applied research. I was also very deeply involved in the day-to-day operational matters and customer care. I was having a lot of fun. You can get a lot more information from my CV.

At a certain point in 2013 TraderTools decided to re-organize, focusing more on the operational aspects of its new, hosted product offering rather than on new product development. As a result, the whole business strategy division was eliminated. Thus, after some looking around, I decided it was time for another change of field. If change is in the air, let it be radical - true to form, etc.

Right about then, in 2013/2014, cyber-security became a really hot topic, with major efforts and investments by private and public entities. I became really intrigued, and accepted an offer from a really cool (well, I think so) startup company called TrapX Security. The company pioneered the field called Deception Technologies, and now it is one of the hottest trends in cyber-security. I became one of the first employees, and as the Director of Product Architecture I became responsible for formalizing the product requirements, detailed specifications, system and software architecture, and design of all the company's products and their components, as well as for the development infrastructure and operations, continuous build and integration, packaging and deployment, etc. With time I became the company's CTO, with the overall responsibility for the all the technology aspect of the business strategy, as well as management and technical leadership of R&D and QA teams, including offshore.

In 2018 the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) decided to create a new program in Business and Data Analytics (Hebrew only) at the Arison School of Business and offered me to teach courses in Statistical Methods and Data Analysis. Needless to say, I gladly agreed, and my employer provides me all the support.

In 2020 Covid-19 struck. At TrapX we certainly could work from home, but many of our customers ran into trouble. Imagine you are an airline... A hotel chain... This was not the first crisis in the company's history, but it was one crisis too many. The company still exists, but I can hardly name any of the current employees. Luckily, I kept in touch with the founders, one of whom, the CEO, left the company a few months before me and became a VP at Fortinet, one of the best known cybersecurity companies in the world. I actually made an attempt to start a company of my own, but when that did not work out I joined Fortinet, too, as a Principal Software Architect. Still there...

You can also look at the list of my publications if you so desire.