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Interview with Maxim Pletner, Keysight Field Engineer


Maxim is a software engineer and an expert in 5G networking who supports Keysight business development efforts and offers advocacy for OpenTAP and open source in general. The OpenTAP project team sat down with Maxim recently to chat about his background, industry experience and insights into test automation.

OpenTAP: Good afternoon Maxim - terrific to be chatting with you. Please tell us a bit about yourself - how did you arrive at your present role with Keysight?

Maxim: I originally studied physics at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (a.k.a. MEPhI), specializing in industrial automation. In my studies there and in internships at IBM and JSC SPELS, I found myself using a wide range of scientific software tools (Matlab, SigmaPlot) and measurement equipment. In this same time period, I authored multiple scientific papers on amplifier measurement and co-authored a patent on measurement data post-processing, also involving the same types of tools. At MEPhI I also used Linux a lot and began my journey into open source software.

OpenTAP: Wow - very impressive. Can you share more detail about your patent?

Maxim: The patent involves T&M automation - software control of electronic amplifier degradation from the effects of radiation. The concept grew out of combining different measurement instruments and C language drivers, originally for LabView. Keysight offers comparable functionality in open source code.

OpenTAP: What led you to employment at Keysight and working with OpenTAP?

Maxim: I actually started out as an applications engineer back when KeySight was still a part of HP-spinout Agilent, supporting and promoting Keysight mm-wave RF measurement equipment in the Russian CIS marketplace. I got to use Keysight products ranging from voltmeters to network / channel emulators, and today I can provide examples of OpenTAP plugins interacting with all of these devices. Later I worked to create custom measurement solutions using Keysight and MATLAB tools.

OpenTAP: What's the focus of your current role? How do you spend your time?

Maxim: Today I direct my technical expertise towards developing Keysight software business in test automation, around both commercial PathWave offerings and open source OpenTAP. I work closely with strategic planners, project management, internal stakeholders and customers to understand challenges and formulate solutions to them.

My priorities include

  • Stewarding awareness, adoption and support of PathWave Test Automation and infrastructure solutions

  • Engaging community and evangelizing the OpenTAP project

  • Training and educating customers, internal stakeholders and 3rd party partners on PathWave Test Automation & PathWave Cloud capabilities

  • Understand requirements and translating them for development and planning teams

OpenTAP: It sounds like you keep yourself very busy with both Keysight commercial offerings and with the OpenTAP project. Tell us about your current OpenTAP-related activities.

Maxim: I've been using my experience in measurement data post-processing to create educational material on how to build new results-listeners and viewers for OpenTAP: more efficient ways to collect and marshal measurement data and present it to users.

OpenTAP: Thank you, Maxim, for your time and insights today. In future blogs we'll feature interviews with other Keysight staffers, OpenTAP developers and members of the OpenTAP ecosystem.