Google Employee & Yeshiva Alumnus
Speaks about Career Path at CSC Event

Who: Dr. Chanoch Goldfeder
Where: Furst Hall Room 501
When: Tuesday Night, November 16, 2010
Originally Published: The Commentator
Written by: Simeon Botwinick

On November 16, more than 150 Yeshiva University students flocked to Furst Hall to get the scoop on robotics, software development and how Google features like G-chat and spam filters work from Dr. Chanoch Goldfeder, a software engineer at Google. Goldfeder, a graduate of Yeshiva College, delivered a presentation entitled “From Email to Gmail (with a detour through robotics),” outlining the history of email, Google’s role in the modern software world and the basics about robotics. He also spoke about the academic and professional path that led him to Google.

“I wanted to have an event that would appeal to the whole student body, not just computer science majors,” said Toviah Moldwin, president of YU’s Computer Science Club, which organized the event. When co-president Ita Goldfeder suggested her brother speak about his career, “I and the rest of the staff of the computer science club immediately jumped on the idea.” Focusing on the conception of Gmail, Google’s email service, Goldfeder highlighted the qualities that distinguished it from standard email services at the time. Many aspects of the service, such as its huge storage capacity, threaded views, fast searches, spam filters and g-chat, were all revolutionary when introduced and immediately ensured the service’s massive popularity. “We first launched Gmail on April 1, 2004,” recalled Goldfeder, “which was a mistake. People just thought it was a joke.”

Goldfeder sprinkled his energetic presentation with fun facts about Google (“Did you know that Israel is the only country outside the United States in which Google has more than one location?”) and its subsidiaries (“Every minute, twenty-four hours of video are uploaded to YouTube”). He also encouraged current students to consider the field of software development, citing the constant energy and excitement that pervades companies like Google. “Billions of emails are sent every day with Gmail,” said Goldfeder, “so we see one-in-a-million issues every few hours. Not a day goes by that we don’t find something we’ve never seen before.” Those who could answer trivia questions about petabytes and checksums were rewarded with Google-sponsored paraphernalia, including Google t-shirts, water bottles, notebooks and stuffed animals.

After his general presentation, Goldfeder spent some time describing his own path from Yeshiva to Google, and how current students could replicate his success. “How do you get from YU to Google, or Microsoft, or IBM or another software company?” he asked. “Major in math. Or computer science. Or better, both.” Goldfeder concluded with a question-and-answer session, discussing issues raised by the audience and through a Web site which allowed students to submit questions beforehand.

“Dr. Goldfeder was a polished and entertaining speaker and he did a brilliant job of making his speech equally interesting and accessible to computer science majors and to those with no particular background,” said Chaim Yehuda Hollander, YC ‘10. “We plan to hold more of these types of events in the future, hopefully with similar success,” said Moldwin. “We are also considering inviting people to speak on topics like computer security, digital music and all sorts of cool stuff.”

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