Greg Bollella Pic
Dr. Greg Bollella
UNF Degree: M.S. – ’88
Employment: Distinguished Engineer, Director Real-Time Java Strategy, Sun Microsystems, Palo Alto, Calif.

Bollella's second career leads to programming innovation

Bollella went on to become a leader in developing Real-Time Java. In computer circles, Bollella has become something of a celebrity and is commonly referred to as the "father of Real-Time Java."

 

None of that would have happened, he said, had not UNF faculty members encouraged him to get his doctorate. "It was a real stretch for me to get a Ph.D. UNF gave me the confidence to pursue my dream." Specifically Bollella praised Drs. Yap Chua and Charles Winton for the inspiration to go beyond his master's degree.

 

To say Bollella went beyond his master's degree is something of an understatement. His doctorate thesis defined how one can support real-time applications within general-purpose operating systems. In 1998 Java was a relatively new programming language that had been used primarily for general computing. However, Bollella believed it could be used for real-time applications, given some modifications. This means it could be incorporated into the logic systems of physical devices operating in the real world. For example, a computer at Amazon.com controls a scanner along a conveyor belt that reads bar code information sending a particular book to a particular customer. That is only one example of how Real-Time Java can be used in everything from cars and planes to elevators and missiles.

 

Bollella received his doctorate in 1997 from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He went to work for IBM at the Research Triangle in North Carolina. In 2000 he moved on to Sun Microsystems in Palo Alto, where he is Director of Real-Time Java Strategy. "My job basically is to incorporate Real-Time Java into products and create new opportunities for Sun Microsystems."

 

During his time at Sun, Bollella was also a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at the Cal Tech/ NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. He led design and implementation of the control system for a Martian rover using, what else, Real-Time Java.

 

Bollella does not spend all day in front of a computer. He's a competitive bicycle racer on the master's level. Training for races takes up a considerable amount of his free time. Bollella also takes most of the responsibility of raising his daughter, since his wife, Melinda, is employed in Baghdad advising the provisional government on gender issues.

 

His daughter and his job are two of Bollella's proudest accomplishments and UNF played a major role in his professional life. In 2005 he returned to UNF to receive an Outstanding Alumni Award. "Had it not been for the professors at UNF I would not have gone on to get my Ph.D. and the world wouldn't have Real-Time Java today."