Get to Know: Tong Zhang, Chief Scientist, ScaleFlux

Get to Know: Tong Zhang, Chief Scientist, ScaleFlux

Tong Zhang, Chief Scientist, ScaleFlux, tells us he was ‘programd’ for a career in technology – but he does wonder what might have been had he started studying and researching AI sooner.

Tong Zhang, Chief Scientist, ScaleFlux

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

Once upon a time, I spearheaded the deployment of low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes into commercial HDD/SSD products. Our mission? To conjure a low-cost silicon implementation of the LDPC code encoder/decoder that retained the mighty error-correcting strength of LDPC codes. Spoiler alert – we succeeded. Talk about a memory that could be etched in silicon!

What first made you think of a career in technology?

Well, they say we’re all products of our environment. Starting down the path of a life in electrical engineering during my college days, you could say I was ‘programd’ for a career in technology.

What style of management philosophy do you employ in your current position?

To me, leading a computational memory/storage product pathfinding team feels a lot like a game of 3D chess. Our approach? Keep an open mind, be ready for the unexpected and always remember to think outside the cubical box.

Question: What is the current hot talking point pervasive across technology domains?

The chatter around the water cooler these days is all about generative AI. It’s kind of like the Kardashian of the tech world – always in the spotlight and Driving change (or chaos) across the entire IT infrastructure.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?

My secret recipe? It’s simple. Live in the present. I avoid borrowing trouble from tomorrow and focus on the bits and bytes of today.

What would it be if you could go back and change one career decision?

If I had a time machine, I’d likely head back to my earlier years and send a memo to myself to start studying and researching AI sooner. Who knows, maybe I’d have been on the ground floor of creating ChatGPT!

What do you currently identify as the significant investment areas in your industry?

When it comes to investing, my compass points towards AI-centric infrastructure, from compute, to network, to memory and to storage. These are the fertile fields for nurturing AI workloads and reaping the fruit of progress.

What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in North America?

I am fortunate that my role allows me to focus on technology and its potential.  Other talented individuals at our company are dedicated to solving the business challenges faced whenever a new technology emerges.

What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year, and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?

My job role over the years has been a constant, much like the gravity of a black hole. It’s always there, and it’s always intense. My role in product pathfinding has remained steadfast, but who knows, maybe the universe has some exciting changes in the cosmos.

What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry?

If you’re looking to conquer the C-suite, my sage advice would be to emulate a rubber band – always persevere, stretch yourself, and stay open-minded. Oh, and remember, as many successful people have said, “C” stands not just for “Chief”, but also for “Courage”.

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