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EP24 - A Machine Learning Deep Dive, Georgia Tech's Online Masters and Life at Elastic

A conversation with Ben Trent

Episode Summary

This week on the Carolina Code Cast, host Barry Jones chats with Ben Trent, Senior Principal Software Engineer at Elastic. During the episode Barry and Ben talk about his journey into software from a math degree, extensive discussion of the Georgia Tech online Computer Science Masters degree, his time at Rackspace, working with Inference Systems at Elastic, dig deep into machine learning, information retrieval, how Vector data works, working with the Heirchical Navigable Small Worlds (HNSW) models and probabilistic structures, his experience speaking at the Carolina Code Conference in 2023 and what it’s like to work on a distributed team. This is one of our more technical deep dive episodes but Ben does a great job of breaking it down so that it’s easier to understand. You’ll learn a lot!

“We’re gonna say Barry has a Napoleon complex.”
- Ben Trent

Episode Notes

Highlights from this week’s episode include:

  • Journey from Math to Rackspace (1:31)

  • Georgia Tech online Computer Science MS…and toddlers (3:40)

  • Time at Rackspace (10:18)

  • Comradery during an online degree program (14:37)

  • AI Chatbot TA and the overflow of software into everything (18:28)

  • Rackspace stories: Upgrading from Rails 1.2 and “The Scream Test” (22:50)

  • Working on Inference Systems at Elastic (31:01)

  • Information Retrieval and Cool Sunglasses (37:54)

  • Teach me about storing Vector Data (43:42)

  • HNSW and Probabilistic Structures (50:20)

  • Making Java Faster, Conference Talks and Searching with Numbers (54:15)

  • Working in a Distributed Team (58:44)


Carolina Code Cast is a podcast that covers a wide variety of topics in the coding and data space. Learn more about this year’s Carolina Code Conference at

Developed with assistance from Heard Media.

Carolina Code Conference™
Carolina Code Cast™
The tech podcast of the Carolina Code Conference, a polyglot conference for all who code that's held every August in Greenville, SC. The podcast features interviews discussing a wide variety of topics from around the programming, DevOps and security community.