Bo Begole ('94, '98)
Director, AMD Research
Class of ’94, ’98
My formative years professionally were at Xerox PARC where colleagues and I invented new interface technologies, recommender systems, and context-aware mobile applications. We combined these sensor-enhanced technologies into “ubiquitous computing” services that would pro-actively retrieve information or take action to make the user’s life better.
In 2011, I wrote a book, “Ubiquitous Computing for Business” that described the future that we are living today: digital assistants, location-based services, gig-economy, and Internet of Things.
At Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, I led teams of researchers that created new media experiences. We developed 3D light field transmission protocols that would allow remote people to see each other in real time with the full depth and parallax of an in-person meeting. My teams invented new computer vision algorithms to enable augmented reality overlays of digital information onto the real world. It will not be long before augmented reality creates a new digital landscape that we will live in.
Today, at AMD Research, I lead teams that develop architectures for the world’s fastest supercomputers: the Frontier and El Capitan supercomputers will deliver more than 1.5 exaflops of peak performance, solving the most complex scientific simulations and computations in record time. These machines will discover new sources of energy, search for new materials, design more efficient machines, and simulate protein folding and other biological phenomena to treat cancers and future unknown diseases like COVID.
How did the department equip you for the ‘real world’?
My time at Virginia Tech pushed me to hone my creativity, learning, communication, and problem-solving skills so that I could adapt quickly and find multiple paths to success in my industrial career.
Being a Virginia Tech alumnus means...
I like to sit next to colleagues from ivy league schools, knowing that Virginia Tech alumni have accomplished as much or more than those of any other school. Maybe it’s petty, but I feel a certain pleasure in making the point that this public university has had as much impact on the world as any private school. The future will see even more accomplishment as the computer science department grows.
My fondest memory of my time in the department is...
There are too many fond memories to narrow down to one: singing to the radio with my lab mates, jumping in piles of colored leaves in the fall, the warmth and kindness of Jessie in the Virginia Tech administrative office, crossing the Drillfield in the spring, killing a hard-to-find bug in my software, standing up the first web server on the Virginia Tech network, and most of all--my fellow students.
Being named the Virginia Tech Computer Science Outstanding Doctoral Student and then Distinguished Alumnus meant … to me
Like many students, I sometimes had feelings of “imposter syndrome”, as if I had somehow squeaked by in all of my courses, peer-reviewed publications, qualification exams, and my dissertation defense. Receiving these honors reassured me but I would say this to all Virginia Tech students: “You really did it. It was not easy but you persevered and you really did it. Yourself.”
Out of the 37+ patents that I have, my favorite is…
The first one that was issued. I always wanted to be an inventor or a mad scientist of some sort. Having a patent validated that at some level. The patent itself was a cool idea to show different views of digital content when people are working together remotely. That patent and related ideas are showing up now in the kinds of distributed groupware that we’re all increasingly using during COVID era. Those ideas started when I was at Virginia Tech.