(Video) Google Engineer Chris Palmer Explains “The Powers of Two”, Big O Notations

Google security engineer (and Hackbright mentor) Chris Palmer helps new programmers understand how to answer questions like “How much RAM does Twitter have to buy?” and “What’s the lowest possible latency to open a Gmail inbox showing 25 conversations?”

Watch the full Hackbright Academy Tuesday night tech talk here:

Check out his “Powers Of Two” slides here!

Chris talks about how to put real-world orders of magnitude on abstract big-O complexity, make back-of-the-envelope estimations, and explore how to use them to reverse engineer real-world large-scale applications like Twitter and Gmail. He explores algorithms and their complexity from a high-level view and from a low-level view, to help develop intuitions about what computers can really do.

About the speaker: Chris Palmer works at Google as a software security engineer on Chrome, where he focuses on the security of Chrome for mobile platforms (Android and iOS), and duct-taping over the foibles of the web PKI. Prior to this, Chris was on the Android team at Google. Prior to Google, Chris was the Technology Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a security engineering consultant at iSEC Partners, and a web developer. Majoring in linguistics and in French literature prepared him well for these careers, weirdly. Follow him on Twitter at @fugueish.