Developer story

Brian Burns

IBM Emerging Internet Technologies

I am a senior software engineer in the IBM Emerging Technologies group and project lead of EclairJS. Emerging Technologies evaluates technologies and trends that are on the horizon. We validate those technologies with the needs of IBM customers and product groups through research and building prototypes. EclairJS is an open source project started by the Emerging Tech tean last year. It is a NodeJS front end for Apache Spark.


In 1998 I graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a BA in computer science.Immediately after graduation, I joined IBM and began working for Lotus in Cambridge Massachusetts. I began work on a project called eSuite which was a Java-based operating system for hosting productivity applications on a lightweight terminal.


When I joined the Emerging Technologies department in 2000, I started working on the 64-bit port of the IBM Java Virtual Machine. For the past 15 years, I’ve worked on a wide variety of technologies such as alternative UI’s, scripting language runtimes, developer tooling, audio video collaboration, mobile applications, and cloud-based systems. This exposure to so many programming languages, frameworks, and operating systems is why it’s fun to work in Emerging Technologies. You are always learning something new.


For the past three years, I’ve been working with Apache Spark building real-time analytics platforms. Having worked with Spark, we noticed a need for front end applications to be able to communicate with Spark and EclairJS.


Working within Emerging Technologies has been a great experience. I’ve been able to work with everything from low-level x86 assembly to higher level abstractions like JavaScript, object oriented languages like Java to functional programming languages like Clojure. It has been a fulfilling and rewarding experience. I look forward to what else is on the horizon in the years ahead.