Three questions with Nick Buragilio about the Pitch Competition
Nick Buragilio took third prize at the LBNL Intellectual Property Office’s Annual Pitch Competition on September 9 for his talk on “Hecate: Directing happiness to internet service provider customers.” Hecate is a software tool that leverages machine learning to automate complex network traffic engineering. The prize includes $1000 for the Hecate team, supporting continued lab-to-market progress.
How did you develop the technology? It’s a team of three: myself, Scott Campbell, and Mariam Kiran. Scott is handling the data collection and curation and pipelining the data into AI algorithms being developed by Mariam. Mariam is also working on porting the algorithms to GPUs. I’m handling the overall technology and product strategy, plus network elements supporting large-scale traffic engineering.
The idea came from traffic engineering and segment routing conversations; Mariam had some ideas about bringing in machine learning from the SENSE project, so we sat down over Zoom and sketched things out – it was a natural meeting of minds and very much a virtual “mapping out a project on a napkin” moment, despite the pandemic.
What was it like pulling together the pitch? I enjoy public speaking, and I like to challenge myself. The Pitch Competition seemed like a good opportunity to test the waters and experiment to see what would work and what might not. The challenge was to fit a complicated technical topic into a 5-minute elevator pitch. The Intellectual Property Office supplied coaching as well.
What’s next? We continue on with our testing, and we are looking for more opportunities to use the demonstration software on real data, especially research and educational network partners who can give access to their network data. I’m at email@example.com if a reader is interested in learning more!
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