Three questions with Derek Howard

Three questions with a new ESnet staff member!  

Derek Howard is a software developer from Columbia, MO. Prior to joining ESnet, Derek worked as an HPC system administrator for the University of Missouri. Derek also created Augur ( which is part of the Linux Foundation’s CHAOSS group (, a working group focused on measuring the health and sustainability of open source software. 

Derek is part of the Network Services Automation group under John MacAuley, where he will be working primarily on our internal ESnet Database (ESDB).

Question 1: What brought you to ESnet?

I worked with George Robb at the University of Missouri and he joined ESnet a while ago and it seemed like a great place to work. I asked him if there were any positions at ESnet he thought might be a good fit for me and he referred me to the position I am in now. I’m really happy I joined; it is as great as I expected!

Question 2: What is the most exciting thing going on in your field right now?

With so much work underway for ESnet6, exciting changes are happening every day. We are pushing to get features out for all of our software as fast as possible right now. Right now, I am working on a feature in ESDB to make it easier for network engineers to verify hardware was installed correctly during router installs. 

As far as the broader field goes, I am excited about DDR5 memory becoming commercially available soon. 

Question 3: What book would you recommend?

Randall Munroe’s “What If?” – It’s a wonderful collection of serious answers to silly questions by the creator of XKCD.