I'm a freelance consultant, specializing in the deployment of cloud-based web infrastructure.
In my most recent gig, I helped design and build Acquia Cloud, an Amazon Web Services-based platform that (as of March 2012) hosted hundreds of Drupal sites and served one billion page views per month.
I was also once a laser physicist, a biophysicist, and a semiconductor manufacturing engineer — but not all at the same time.
I live in Arlington, Massachusetts with my wife Elsa.
- Writing on my Mechanical Robot Fish site.
- As mechfish on Github.
- As michaelfbooth on LinkedIn.
- As mechanical_fish on App.net.
- As mechanical_fish on Twitter.
- By sending me email.
Senior Cloud Engineer, Acquia, Inc., Burlington, MA (June 2009 – June 2012)
- A senior member of the team that designed, developed, and launched Acquia Cloud, an AWS-based platform-as-a-service for hosting Drupal-based websites.
- Managed the automated deployment of customer code and data across thousands of server instances in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. Designed, wrote, debugged, released, and maintained internal and external APIs, control panels, databases, and command-line tools for this purpose.
- Built and managed the Acquia Cloud release engineering process; used Puppet to conduct staged rollouts of production code changes.
- Designed and maintained the automated backup system for Cloud customer data.
- Maintained an extensive suite of automated tests (in Ruby, orchestrated by Puppet) to ensure code quality.
- Diagnosed performance and uptime problems on live websites during operational emergencies.
- Tinkered with every layer of the LAMP stack: AWS provisioning and configuration, Ubuntu package management, Apache, Nginx, Varnish, PHP, Ruby/Passenger, Git and SVN servers, MySQL replication, GlusterFS-based distributed file systems.
Freelance Web Developer, Literate Devices, Inc, Arlington, MA (December 2007 – June 2009)
- Designed, developed, and deployed web sites, primarily in Drupal.
- Developed custom Drupal modules.
Research Scientist, Science Research Laboratory, Inc., Somerville, MA (March 2006 – October 2007)
- Conceived, designed, and executed optical and electrical experiments on high-power semiconductor lasers in order to improve their operating lifetime.
- Wrote software in Ruby, Java, LabVIEW, and VBScript for acquisition and analysis of laser data.
- Designed cooling and monitoring subsystems for a laser diode testing facility; directed machinists and technicians during assembly and operation of the facility.
- Co-authored funding proposals and reports.
Research Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (March 2003 – March 2006)
- Studied tumor blood vessels and drug diffusion using novel optical techniques.
- Assembled, configured, and maintained two-photon microscopy systems.
- Wrote software in Java, LabVIEW, and C for image acquisition and analysis.
- Trained and assisted microscope users.
- Co-authored, reviewed, and edited journal articles and NIH grants.
Product Engineer, Agilent Technologies, Semiconductor Products Group, Newark, CA (Dec 2000 – March 2003)
- Invented, designed, implemented, and maintained a Web-accessible software system (built with Oracle, Linux and Perl) for the capture, storage, retrieval, and display of RF test data and the automated evaluation and rework of semiconductor wafers; used this system to support 20–30 engineers at fabs in the U.S. and Malaysia. This software remained in production at Agilent (now Avago Technologies) for many years and processed billions of parts.
- Diagnosed processing problems to improve yields during the manufacturing ramp of the Film Bulk Acoustic Resonator (FBAR).
Software Developer, ArsDigita Corporation, Cambridge, MA (April 2000 – November 2000)
- Developed Oracle-backed Web sites for client companies, using the Open Architecture Community System.
- Taught Web programming to beginning students.
- Co-authored a chapter in a software textbook; wrote documentation.
Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Electrical Engineering, Cornell University (October 1995 – March 2000)
- Conducted extensive, hands-on semiconductor process development at the Cornell Nanofabrication Facility.
- Assembled and programmed computer-integrated test systems for measuring and analyzing electrical, optical, and RF-noise characteristics of lasers.
- Developed analytical models of ring laser asymmetry and bistability.
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
- Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, May 2000
- Thesis: Bistability and Unidirectionality in Triangular Ring Diode Lasers
- Adviser: Dr. Joseph Ballantyne
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
- Bachelor of Science in Physics, summa cum laude