Amazon Development Center India

Thursday, April 21, 2005

It's been long time since we've been here.
Since then we've been busy having fun, working hard and making history.

We must say goodbye to good ol' blogspot as we move to our own blog site:
http://india.amazon.com/blog.

Catch up on more action there!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Great Automatic Grammatizator

“Blossoms, Church street,” said Mr. Murthy from The Select Bookstore. That is where you may find the original versions of the Amar Chitra Kathas and Indrajal Comics.

I came to Bangalore a few months ago from Seattle and I wanted to buy the books of my childhood for my 5 year old Aman. Blossoms had a good collection of these and more – Amar Chitra Kathas, Indrajal, Tinkle, Target, Enid Blyton, ...I picked my red shopping basket, collecting the best of these… reminiscing through my younger days.

The children’s’ section had a great collection. I bought two of my all time favorites - James and the Giant peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Raold Dahl. I stumbled upon Boy: Tales of childhood by Dahl. I hadn’t read this one before. It was a book inviting readers into the younger days of Dahl. This one was for me! And this one too – The Great Automatic Grammatizator and other stories by the same author. I came out of Blossoms looking like an ancient library. I was happy with my investment.

The Great Automatic Grammatizator is a precious story. . Set in a time when the great mathematical engine was being built. This Classic is a story of a young aspiring writer who builds a story- writing machine. A machine which can, at the click of pre-selector buttons conjure stories with anything one would want in it. Satirical, Power, Mystery, Profundity…anything!

Of course I could arrange my little story brilliantly with a little help :-) I searched for the Grammatizator on Amazon.com. Apart for the book, I got a message that read : Refine your search: Find grammatizator in these categories:. I searched on A9.com. and it pointed me to the book. I tried searching Google, just in case…Same results..

I guess Dahl’s story was an idea ahead of his time and ours too - In the time of great online search engines, the Grammatizator is yet to happen.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Building Blocks of Innovation

Amazon’s development center in India is all about innovation. Everything we are involved in is focused on innovating in the space we are in. We are focused on some of the biggest game-changing initiatives in extremely competitive areas where innovation is the key to success and the environment that we work plays an important role in getting us in the ‘zone’ [1].

Innovation is a tricky thing. Creativity can never be forced. That creativity needs a free mind and an environment that encourages new ideas is an obvious and almost an overstated fact [2]. However, this is something that we are passionate about. We like to exercise our creativity (More about our internal Creative Expression contest soon), surround ourselves with things that challenge our brain cells and at the same time open our eyes to innovation in other places. We also recognize the role of natural light in creating healthy thinking spaces [3] and we have plenty of it.

Our space provides us with the ability to create thinking spaces almost anywhere (epiphanies are not planned). The environment reflects our passion for building blocks enabling innovation and keeping them simple. It allows us to innovate ourselves and at the same time enable others to innovate in ways we never imagined.

We want our work environment to exemplify our philosophies and culture and provide our teams of innovators, builders and owners an environment fostering creativity. It is clearly day 1 and our quest is a creative experience in itself that each of us in Bangalore is a significant participant in.

[1] "Where do these people get their (unoriginal) ideas?" Joel-on-software.
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000068.html

[2] "Innovative Space Exploration: Designing your optimal creative Environment" by Jonathan Vehar at http://www.thinksmart.com/2/articles/idealenvironment.html

[3] "The Role of Light in health" at http://www.sumeria.net/health/light.html

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Jason Levitt on the Amazon Queue Service

Long-time Amazon Web Services (AWS) developer and author Jason Levitt just put out an article that describes the Simple Queue Service (SQS) and talks about building a chat application using it.

Check it out at http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2005/01/05/sqs.html.

Do you have an interesting application that can use SQS? Do you have an idea for improving SQS? Do you have an ideas for other useful web services that can help you innovate? Let us know by sending email to jobs-bangalore@amazon.com.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Donate to the Tsunami Disaster Relief Efforts

All of us at Amazon.com are deeply saddened by the loss of lives resulting from the South Asia earthquake and tsunamis on December 26. We are offering customers the ability to make donations directly to the American Red Cross to aid the evacuation of surviviors and the dispersal of first aid. One hundred percent of your donation will go to the American Red Cross. We are glad that our technology can be used for this noble cause.

You can donate now with 1-click on http://www.amazon.com.

Thank you in advance for making any donation to help in this time of great need.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Research Pubs from Amazon India

Algorithms for Single Link Failure Recovery

and Related Problems


Amit M Bhosle, Teofilo F Gonzalez
Journal of Graph Algorithms & Applications (to appear)

We investigate the single link failure recovery
problems which deal with rerouting issues in networks
prone to link failure. Furthermore, the knowledge
of the link failure is not propagated across the
network, and the failure is discovered only when one
is about to use the failed link. We present near
optimal algorithms for arbitrarily weighted undirected
graphs, and achive an improved algorithm for
unweighted (undirected) graphs, and integer-edge-
weighted (undirected) graphs. For directed graphs,
we present a super-linear lower bound for the problem.
Finally, we extend our techniques to devise a near-optimal
algorithm for the k minimum weight replacement edges for
the tree edges of a minimum-spanning-tree.
[PDF] [Bibtex]


Saturday, October 23, 2004

First Just Do it for India!

The Just Do It Award recognizes and rewards employees who exemplify two of our core values: innovation and bias for action. To receive a Just Do It award, nominees must try something on their own initiative; in other words, they're not following orders or waiting for and obtaining approval. To avoid encouraging associates to just go out and do anything an important corollary to this award is that nominees think through the ramifications of their efforts well. The nominees' efforts solve a problem, fill a significant customer or business need, or take advantage of an opportunity. Importantly, nominees' efforts do NOT have to work out to be considered; it is their bias for action that is being rewarded. Finally, the effort may be related to their regular job, but the winner's efforts typically are outside, above, or beyond simply doing their regular job really well.

Vivek was awarded the first Just Do It for Amazon India. It was scrambleto get a Nike shoe (Nike = Just Do it! in case you are wondering) of size 14 (Just Do It winners have big shoes to fill) but we did manage to buy one just in time and got everyone in the office to sign it.

More about Vivek's accomplishment ...
As the Bangalore development center started hiring developers in August, one of the key challenges was to provide reliable network connectivity and basicdevelopment environment for the developers to be productive from day one. Efforts to recruit a bar-raising system administrator were under way, but to no effect. Vivek, who is also the first external SDE to be hired into the Bangalore team, saw the state of affairs and volunteered to improve the infrastructure. He setup a basic local area network (using his personal home router), liaised with the local ISP, built a central Linux server for development, helped setup individual workstations, installed productivity tools such as twiki, manageduser administration and e-mail accounts, handled security and virus issues, and acted as the go-to guy for all infrastructure issues. Amazingly, Vivek didall of this while developing key software components as part of his pizza team. Vivek’s ownership and initiative, in setting up and maintaining the development infrastructure, were invaluable to improved productivity at the Bangaloredev center.

Congratulations Vivek!

Architects of Amazon India

2 Pizza Teams at Amazon are composed of super-stars who are not only technically good but also carry a smart business head. Well, we have take it a step further inBangalore. Over the last 2-3 weeks, we had some good sessions to come up with theplans for our new office. It was fun to incorporate the core competencies of Amazon into our work environment. We will have a space free of hierarchy and open communication,a place that would underscore customer obsession, innovation, teamwork, passion for solving tough problems, frugality and having fun at the same time.

It was also fun wearing the systems hat and working as a team to get our development environment in better shape - configuring routers, VPNs, boxes, network, evaluating open source ...

Indeed day 1 and a honor to be a part of this super-star team of builders!