Optimizing - Leading Africa's Digital Future

Optimizing is a podcast produced by Professor Barry Dwolatzky (also known as "The Grand Geek"). Season 1 features Prof Barry in conversation with Kerryn Gammie. Optimizing aims to encourage conversations between those, like Prof Barry, who have shaped Africa's digital economy over the past several decades, and those, like Kerryn, who will shape its future. [Evan Wigdorowitz (Edit and Logo Design); Callum Kuhl (Music & Sound) ; Joshua Clark (Mix)]
ENGLISH Read by Barry Dwolatzky & Kerryn Gammie South Africa Technology · Documentary

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01

Becoming the Grand Geek - Part 1

Prof Barry talks about his introduction to the world of software via mainframes. In the 1980s he worked on early versions of technologies that now lie at the heart of modern digital transformation.
02

Becoming the Grand Geek - Part 2

In 1989 Prof Barry returned to South Africa after 10 years in voluntary exile in the UK to work underground in the struggle against Apartheid. In this episode he talks to Kerryn about some of his secret work as an underground software engineer.
03

Becoming the Grand Geek - Part 3

In this 3rd and final episode of "Becoming the Grand Geek", Prof Barry talks about how in the 1990's he and Alan Meyer ran a large research and development effort at Wits that created innovative design software used to support Eskom's efforts to connect 100's of thousands of homes to the national grid. He launched a startup to commercialise the CART software.
04

How to Slay a Werewolf

Episode 4 of our podcast touches on some of the software concepts that gave rise to the “4th Industrial Revolution”. Prof Barry Dwolatzky and Kerryn Gammie discuss OOD, digital twins and robotics + AI. Prof Barry did pioneering work on all of these topics as he became the “Grand Geek” in the 1980’s and 90’s. He then discusses Werewolves – and how to slay them. He uses the metaphor of the Werewolf to tell Kerryn about software engineering. This discussion is an updated version of his very popular inaugural public lecture presented in 2001 when he became a full professor in Software Engineering
05

From ad hoc to Optimizing

In the late 1990s a strategy for growing South Africa's IT Industry was developed. Although it offered a clear vision for the future of the Industry, very few of the recommendations were implemented. In this episode Prof Barry discusses South Africa's IT Industry with Kerryn Gammie. He explains why he set up the JCSE at Wits University in 2005 and how he was inspired by two of his all-time heroes. FC Kohli, founder of the Indian IT industry and Watts Humphrey, father of software quality.
06

Tshimologong - Place of New Beginnings

South Africa and Africa need to embrace innovation and entrepreneurship if they are to deal successfully with the Triple Challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. Prof Barry speaks to Kerryn and Evan about how and why he set up Wits University's Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein Johannesburg, and how he aims to create Africa's Silicon Valley on the doorstep of the University.
07

Rebuilding the Skills Pyramid

IT Skills are in short supply around the world. For decades the faster growing digital economies of the Northern Hemisphere have sucked IT skills out of the developing world. South Africa, with its very well established and sophisticated digital economy, has struggled to grow enough of its own skills to meet the every increasing demand for IT professionals. In this episode Prof Barry and Kerryn discuss Kerryn's own skills journey. They also talk about various initiatives led by Prof Barry and others to rebuild the local IT Skills Pyramid.
08

Digital Transformation

The term "Fourth Industrial Revolution", or 4IR lacks a clear definition. Prof Barry describes 4 "Design Principles" that lie at the heart of Germany's Industrie 4.0 movement. He relates these to evolutionary and revolutionary digital transformation.

9 episodes