Facebook Makes STEM Social

Dec 18, 2010 | Updated May 25, 2011

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have benefited our world in exciting and unexpected ways. From putting a man on the moon to the creation of life-saving medications, STEM is everywhere. STEM is also used in places that some may not realize, including at Facebook.

STEM is essential to keeping Facebook running around the clock, allowing more than 500 million people to share with family and friends in a safe and secure environment. Transmitting every status update, photo, "like", and friend request is a massive undertaking. Engineers use their STEM skills every day to make the site fast, reliable and fun for our users who spend more than 700 million minutes per month on Facebook, sharing more than 30 billion pieces of content.

Facebook engineers use machine learning to show you the most interesting content on your News Feed when you log in. They use math, probability, and statistics to continuously test new features, make sure they are well used, and improve your experience on the site. Engineers also design and develop unique and innovative tools to help you protect your account and information from unauthorized access.

Part of the Facebook experience includes the games people love playing with their friends. But none of these games would be possible without STEM. Facebook engineers and game developers from around the world work together, utilizing their skills in engineering and technology, to make these games a possibility. These engineers and developers write computer code that allows people to compete with friends, trade within games, and have in-game chats. These features, which are often taken for granted, require every line of code to be perfect for a game to run smoothly.

We have come a long way from our roots in a Harvard University dorm room when Facebook was run on a single server. Today, we must constantly scale our technical infrastructure, which is why engineers are busy designing and building new data centers. When operational, these highly efficient and cost-effective facilities will house thousands of servers and support our operations today and into the future.

Creating all these cool new products and features required STEM skills. Those of us lucky enough to work at Facebook encourage all students to pursue STEM education. A strong STEM skill set will open up doors to many exciting opportunities and help our next generation of innovators create the next best thing that may just change the world.