Optimizing - Leading Africa's Digital Future

Optimizing is a podcast produced by Professor Barry Dwolatzky (also known as "The Grand Geek"). Season 2 features Prof Barry and Kerryn Gammie in conversation with thought leaders and role models in the South African and African digital community. Each conversation is based on the metaphor of a relay race in which the guest is asked to reflect on how they received the baton and what they will pass on to Kerryn and her generation [Evan Wigdorowitz (Edit and Logo Design); Callum Kuhl (Music )]
ENGLISH Read by Barry Dwolatzky & Kerryn Gammie South Africa Technology · Documentary

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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.
Show Notes and Additional Resources

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
Show Notes and Additional Resources

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.
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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.
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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.
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Trailer for Season 2

Season 2 of the "Optimizing - Leading Africa's Digital Future" has the subtitle "Passing and Receiving the Baton". History is a relay race in which we receive a legacy of knowledge and experience from those who have come before. We then enrich and grow this legacy until we ultimately pass it on to the next generation. Our analogy is that this legacy is like a baton in a relay race.

Each episode in Season 2 will feature a special guest who has lead Africa's digital legacy.. What is their "baton" and what will THEY pass on to the next generation?
Show Notes and Additional Resources

S2:Ep1 - In Conversation with Tshilidzi Marwala

Professor Tshilidzi Marwala is a South African engineer, AI expert and academic leader. In this conversation with Prof Barry Dwolatzky and Kerryn Gammie he talks about his early days and who passed him the baton in life's metaphoric relay race. He discusses some of the very fascinating work he has done, and then talks about what he would pass on to Kerryn and her generation as their life's journey starts.
Show Notes and Additional Resources

S2: Ep2 - In Conversation with Kent Beck

Kent Beck is an American software engineer, writer and thought leader. He has been, and remains, one of the most influential figures in the field of software development over the past 20 years. He is best known as the creator of the eXtreme Programming (XP) software development methodology and proponent of Test Driven Development (TDD). In 2001 he was one of 17 signatories of the Agile Manifesto that started a movement which revolutionised the world of software development around the world. He first visited South Africa in 2005 as a guest of the JCSE. This initiated a long association between Kent and the software engineering community of South Africa and Africa.

In this episode Kent is in discussion with Prof Barry and his co-host Kerryn Gammie. If life is a relay race, what is the baton he will hand over to Kerryn and her generation of Africa’s future digital leaders.

27 episodes

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