Moore's Lobby Podcast

Ep. 50 | AWS VP of Engineering Bill Vass on AI, Quantum Computing, and the Metaverse

Episode #50 / 1:15:37 / July 19, 2022 by Daniel Bogdanoff
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Bill Vass of Amazon Web Services talks AI/ML, quantum computing, servers in space, the Metaverse, and how AWS wants to help engineers “just focus on being an engineer.”

While he is currently the VP of Engineering at what is probably the largest computing company in the world, Bill Vass was not always convinced a career in computing was a good option:

 

My primary major was in geology, actually, because I never thought people would actually pay you just to do computers. I always thought it would be using computers for other things. So, I studied marine biology, geology, and computer science.

 

In this episode of Moore’s Lobby, we get to hear from one of the tech gurus at Amazon Web Services (AWS) on topics that include artificial intelligence; machine learning; portable, ruggedized, high-density storage; quantum computing; and explosions. Yes, explosions!

 

An AWS Snowcone SSD floats in the ISS before installation. Image used courtesy of Amazon

 

Other fun topics include a discussion of Bill’s view of the Metaverse. I won’t give it all away, but it is definitely more than AR/VR goggles and involves everyone’s favorite spy, 007.

After you listen to Bill explain how he graphs out his time on his calendar, you will get some insight into how he has forged such an amazing career. It might even get you to start graphing your own calendar and time usage! 

And, be sure to listen to the end for a truly fascinating story about how Star Trek influenced the technology we use every day.

Other highlights from this fast-paced episode include:

  • Why it would be fun to visit Bill’s barn
  • A 5-pound snowcone and a 50-pound snowball?
  • The best engineers and coders are also…well, you will have to listen to find out how Bill completes this sentence!

 

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Meet Bill Vass

For nearly 8 years, Bill Vass has worked at Amazon Web Services where he is the Vice President of Engineering. In his role, Vass oversees more than 42 cloud and edge technologies for applications as diverse as storage, studio rendering, IoT, robotics, autonomous systems, and even quantum computing. Over his career, he has held CEO, COO, CIO, CISO, and CTO business leadership positions for start-ups, Fortune 100 companies, and the federal government.

 

 

Before joining AWS, he was the President and CEO of Liquid Robotics, a company that designed and built autonomous robots for diverse markets that included energy, shipping, defense, and intelligence. Vass served as the President and COO of Sun Microsystems Federal and CIO at Sun.

Vass also had a lengthy and successful public service career. Working for the Secretary of Defense in the Office of the CIO, he was on a team responsible for oversight of a $35.5B budget and managed the Pentagon’s networks, servers, and applications. Before joining the Office of the CIO, Mr. Vass was CTO and technical lead for the U.S. Army’s personnel systems worldwide. 

In his early career, Vass developed large-scale commercial IT engineering and business systems solutions for the defense, oil, and gas, and ocean engineering industries.

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