SUSE Hack Week Spotlight: Guerrilla AI Team

SUSE Hack Week is a week-long sprint permitting developers time off from their day jobs to work on something entirely of their own design or wishes. This week we will be showcasing some of the amazing projects coming out of SUSE Hack Week and the brilliant minds behind them. Stay tuned all week long for more features.

Today we are featuring the Guerrilla AI Team, the team members are :

Alessandro Festa [AF]
Rossella Sblendido [SB]
Brian Fromme [BF]
Jeff Price [JP]

Give me a few details about your team, your background, your role at SUSE, any interesting facts?
[RS] I manage the Engineering team that focuses on Networking within the CaaSP department. I am passionate about open source, I was a core reviewer for OpenStack Neutron and was part of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Linux Foundation Networking.

[BF] I work on the HPE Alliance team. My job roles is business development, but I come with a career in software development, so I’m currently in Technical Pre-Sales, under Morne Rossouw.
I’m a jazz pianist, although I write a lot of different styles of music. I’m currently working on a funky-rock band, arranging the new music I’ve written for that scene.

[AF] I’ve joined SUSE a little more than one year ago and keep loving this company and its way of being different from anyone else in this industry. I work as Sr. Product Manager with specific focus on Artificial Intelligence that makes me extremely happy because I can combine two big love of my life, curiosity for everything that is new and build something valuable for the community. Interesting fact about me? I have a deep love for sociology and human interactions and I’ve been a semi-professional cyclist in my twenties but due an incident I had to reload my life and ended up in this industry.

[JP] Father, Spouse, Technologist, Creator, Learner, Friend, Musician, Adventurer, Searcher. I try to improve how I perform these roles everyday. These roles are not listed in any specific order. Some are more important than others. Over 25 years professionally – in technology architecture, design, and delivery. Chief Architect for SUSE Services. Founder/Leader of the SUSEband. Tim Ferriss acolyte. Leadership, Improvement, Enhancement, Betterment, Mentoring and Team-Building audio-book junkie.

What is your SUSE Hack Week project and how is it beneficial?
[RS] It’s about providing a playground for data scientists that they can run on their laptop. It’s beneficial because there’s nothing similar at the moment and it can speed up the scientists’ work, since they will be able to test quickly locally before creating big workload that run for hours in a shared infrastructure.

[BF] AI “on ramp” (my term). Let’s make it easy for developers and data scientists to love SUSE when they work on an AI project.

[AF]The idea come out from a simple question: What a Data Scientst care most ? Maybe I’m wrong but to me, after all conversations I had with other people working in this field the answer is: a simple playground where I can start working immediately without have to care about complexity. Simplify and Accelerate the day by day way Data Scientist work.

[JP] Artificial Intelligence playground for Data Scientist – i.e. build an AI/ML toolkit and make it easily available.

What do you enjoy most about Hack Week?
[RS] I enjoy trying new things, exploring areas that are not part of my daily job and interacting with people I don’t usually work with.

[BF] Working with new, brilliant people from across places in SUSE that I wouldn’t normally have access to.

[AF]I love the idea of being able to focus on a single subject for an entire week, brainstorming with amazing people like the ones in this team. Listen and learn from them and discover day after day how much we are similar and different at the same time, how much is rewarding collaborating with a smile on the face and a good laugh and, finally, combine all these things in an innovative project.

[JP] It allows me to {talk to, work with, learn [from|with], create with, laugh with, improve with}, some SUSE
colleagues that I don’t regularly get to. It’s great!

What is the most difficult or most interesting project you’ve worked on?
[SB] I am currently studying an MBA to become a better management and broaden my business knowledge. It’s interesting but it’s really challenging to work, study and have a personal life.

[BF] In my life? Well, that’s easy. My children 🙂! Hardest job I’ve ever loved. Well, I loved it most of the time.

[AF]Well it’s a secret but literally working right now on a very challenging project and we are only few weeks away from when it will be releasedcurious to know more? Come to SUSECON then!

[JP] I can just say that it’s true that great things normally require sacrifice of some kind. I’ve always enjoyed working hard to help improve our customers lives. I work just as hard to improve myself, and there is so much work to do there! I find in projects, Technology is usually the easy part, and it’s usually the People side that requires the most work yet provides the most rewards.

How do you dare to be different? Or what does it mean to you?
[SB] For me daring to be different means accepting that everybody is unique. We are smart but we are not smart in the exact same way, that’s why we work in team.

[BF] I have a very strong emotive and connected side. I care very much for the people around me. I use that everyday in my work, play, friendship and music. I try to access all people from where they come, without judgement. But, I must admit that I have to exit any relationship where people are stuck in hate, or a highly negative vibe.

[AF]Listen the others more than yourself. Respect others and accept their differences. Be accountable, in everything you do and don’t be scare if you’re wrong, because as an old Japanese provide remind us: saru mo ki kara ochiru “even monkeys fall from trees”.

[JP] Those who know me will tell you I’ve ALWAYS dared to be different. I have other things I hold myself to dare. I personally dare to be ‘better’. That means so much more to me personally. I think THAT is the kind of ‘different’ we could all support.

Favorite quote and why?
[SB] Lately my favorite quote is “Kalos kagathos”, which means harmonious in mind and body. It’s the Ancient Greek ideal of the complete human being. It reminds me to take care of my life as a whole and to avoid focusing too much on one aspect only.

[BF] “You don’t have to be Picasso or Rembrandt to create something. The fun of it, the joy of creating, is way high above anything else to do with the art form.” — Chick Corea
Chick is one of my favorite pianists and musicians. He’s always inventing. Of course, he’s also a virtuoso, which makes him amazing to listen to. But, I really love the creative, playful side of Chick. You can hear it in his music.

[AF]I actually have two one is from Teddy Roosvelt : “Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining” and the other is from Winston Churchill : “Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm”. Why I do love both? Because remind me that you have to be curious, imagine what still not exist and don’t be afraid to make mistakes because from those you’ll learn and improve.

[JP] Too many to choose from. Here’s one I with some wisdom I am trying to learn, often attributed to Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) but I think it may have been from someone else (originally?):

“I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had time to make it shorter.”

Learn more about the Gurerilla AI Teams SUSE Hack Week Project – Here

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