MADE IN BELGIUM: Geoffrey De Smet: A Man with a Plan

From a small, academic project to a renowned software solution that is used globally and affects the lives of millions of people: it sounds like a fairy tale. But this is exactly what Belgian developer Geoffrey De Smet and Red Hat Business Optimizer (aka OptaPlanner) made happen. One of the most remarkable qualities of the software De Smet developed is its tremendous versatility. He himself used it to put together the match schedule for a tournament at his local tennis club. A schedule they had been labouring on for weeks, was put together over a lunch break applying the software. Next, a phone operator in the US installed it to optimize the deployment of its technicians. Hoping to save one or two percent in travel time, they ended up with a twenty-five percent reduction , saving hundreds of millions of dollars and heavily reducing CO² emissions in the process.

The very first version of the software came into being in 2006, during an academic challenge meant to optimize the university’s timetable. “I was playing around with optimization algorithms and made nice progress by combining them with JBoss code”, De Smet recalls. “In the following years I further improved the software on my own in my spare time. This continued when I started working as a Java consultant and later Java lead at Schaubroeck, were I supported the development of a local government budget software. In that period more and more developers started using OptaPlanner.

De Smet managed to secure his first customers, including a home for the elderly in France. But the development of the software truly made a huge leap forward when he joined Red Hat in 2010. Today, he is the Business Lead for Business Optimizer - or OptaPlanner - at the company. As such he can count on a community of talented full-time core engineers, hundreds of contributors and the feedback of thousands of users downloading the tool every month.

Every organization has planning issues,” is how De Smet explains the success of his software. “Common sense helps- to some extent in efficiently - deploying available people and resources. Our technology, however, always succeeds to further enhance and optimize the process. And we are not talking about efficiency gains of just a few percent, but rather ten, twenty or even twenty-five percent. This leads to enormous savings in logistics, which result in higher profits and higher productivity…usually being the main goal in the retail and transportation industry. In healthcare environments usage of the software focuses more on employee well-being.

There are also opportunities for society in general to profit from De Smet’s achievements. A government agency carrying out security inspections of bridges for instance will soon start using his software as well. Their intention is not to do the same number of inspections with less engineers, but instead to permit them more time per inspection. This will seriously increase the safety of citizens relying on that infrastructure.

I am constantly amazed by the diversity of our customers”, De Smet says. “All judiciary hearings in the UK are being scheduled with OptaPlanner. At the same time, a hugely popular car rental company in Europe uses the software to solve the puzzle of having the right car available for a customer at the requested time. This can get especially complicated considering they offer customers a choice in pick-up and return-locations. , And then there’s Thyssenkrupp, that implemented OptaPlanner to schedule maintenance of 220,000 elevators and escalators across North America which requires 2,500 technicians. Using the software, they managed to increase the number of completed maintenance jobs from fifty to seventy-five percent per year. Over the next year, they want to further improve that score by aiming to do maintenance on all 220,000 installations within a year.”

In Belgium, we just started working for KAVA, an organisation of more than 1,300 pharmacists”, De Smet continues. “They were struggling to allocate evenings and weekends their members are on call. Putting together such a schedule , you need to not only take into account the distance between the available pharmacists, but also the density of the population in an area. Wanting to be fair, they also needed to take into account members’ vacations and the fact that ‘on call’ duty on public holidays was equally spread. Those are very complicated yet exciting challenges.

When asked whether he is dreaming of even bigger achievements, De Smet does not have to think long: “Air traffic is immensely complex, of course, so we would definitely like to see our technology at work within an airline company or an airport. Staying closer to home and to the ground, we would also love to tackle the challenges of the Belgian railways. I’m pretty sure that will be a hard nut to crack,” he laughs.

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01-08-2019 - Red Hat


Red Hat ziet zichzelf steeds meer als dé open source enabler van de hybride cloud

Red Hat ziet zichzelf steeds meer als de motor voor de hybride cloud. Dat bleek onlangs tijdens ons bezoek aan de jaarlijkse hoogmis Red Hat Summit 2019. De diverse producten van de open source-specialist zijn min of meer standaard geworden in de enterprisemarkt. Ook blijkt uit gesprekken met medewerkers en klanten dat de open source-specialist steeds meer aandacht geeft aan het midmarket-segment. Een interessante ontwikkeling.

Tijdens de jaarlijkse conferentie in Boston van de Red Hat-community, voor het bedrijf nog steeds de meest waardevolle ‘asset’, kon niemand er omheen. Het 26-jarige bedrijf is zo goed als onmisbaar geworden als het gaat om het gebruik van open source binnen grootzakelijke IT-omgevingen. Zeker nu open ecosystemen steeds meer in de mode raken.

Van grote bedrijven tot aan vrijwel alle IT-infrastructuurleveranciers, ergens in hun oplossingen en toepassingen hebben zij wel een samenwerking met de open source-gigant. Al zijn het maar verbindingen met Kubernetes, het open source containerplatform van Google. Containers zijn de standaard geworden als het gaat om het kunnen afleveren van diverse workloads waar eindgebruikers die maar willen. Aan de edge-kant van hun netwerk, in het al dan niet on-premise datacenter, in hybride cloudomgevingen of in de bekende grote public cloudomgevingen.

Lees hier het volledige artikel


Bron: Techzine België




02-07-2019 - Red Hat


Red Hat collaborates with Microsoft on KEDA

Today at Microsoft Build, Microsoft introduced KEDA, a new open source project aimed at providing an event-driven scale capability for any container workload. Red Hat is contributing to KEDA (Kubernetes-based event-driven autoscaling), both via the upstream project and bringing its utility to customers using enterprise Kubernetes and containers with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. Using KEDA, we enabled Azure Functions on top of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform in Developer Preview designed to behave the same way it does when running on Azure as a managed service, but now running anywhere OpenShift runs, which means on the hybrid cloud and on-premises.

Red Hat will be making Azure Functions available as a developer preview in Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform with project KEDA to deliver a hybrid FaaS solution that can consume events from Azure Services as well as other additional event sources available in Knative, enabling the accelerated development of event-driven applications on top of the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.

Hybrid, multicloud strategies are now the norm, and collaborating with Microsoft to enable more choice in the hybrid cloud is something Red Hat has done for the last several years.  

With Azure Functions in OpenShift developers can focus on writing business logic using multiple programming languages, including Java and C#, and have a developer experience based on the Azure Functions extension for Visual Studio Code or func CLI.

Users of Azure services (AI, Machine Learning, Azure Cosmos DB, Azure IoT Hub), and other cloud providers can send events through their services and process those events with Azure Functions in a portable way, reducing lock-in concerns. The solution was built with the Operator Framework, an open source toolkit designed to manage services on Kubernetes in a more effective, automated and scalable way, and later this year is planned for availability in  

"The world’s applications going forward need a ubiquitous computing fabric from the cloud to the edge. They need a new app model, that is distributed, event-driven and serverless." (Satya Nadella, Microsoft Build 2018)

Continuing on a path towards an open future, similarly to the Open Data Initiative that aims to eliminate silos and define a common data model, Red Hat's collaboration with Microsoft in serverless is aimed at doing the same for the computing fabric, helping to unlock customers and workloads and provide greater choice for developers that want to be able to build and deploy applications anywhere.

To get started and learn more visit

Bron: Red Hat

13-05-2019 - Red Hat

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