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Seminars Attended @ Oakland University – Fall 2014

Within this semester, I attended many seminars that enriched my knowledge and overflowed my mind with countless new ideas. The ones I found interesting are: ‘An Overview of Research at US Army’s TARDEC and NAC and the SMART’ conducted by a group of researchers from TARDEC that presented the newest technological and the future research within the military ground vehicles. Dr. S. Ramesh presented ‘Design and Verification challenges of Embedded Systems‘ seminar, discussing the complexity of the automotive control software and the challenges of building effective methods and tools for developing such systems. ‘Using Game-Creating Software to build Cross-Platform 2D Games’ by Ms. Jennifer Marsman was a wonderful two part presentation about hackathons and how to use Construct 2 to build magnificent 2D games just by dragging and dropping pictures.

What keeps me interested about new seminars is the ideas that I can come up with after each one. Every seminar presents a new set of technology, approach, and a strategy to a challenge. In the TARDEC seminar, the researchers explained the next generation of ground combat mobility, how they communicate with each other and how they organize themselves without the instructions of human officers. The demo looked so amazing that for a moment I started to think of the possibilities of deploying such technology to the daily life automobiles and trucks, the day when we will drive the streets and never see a stop sign or a traffic light. A lot is going to change, old technologies are not needed anymore, humans need to adopt themselves to a new way and style of living. Its the future, that we have only seen in movies and tv shows, so far. The researchers also provided us with a booklet that has a plan for a 30-year strategy for the ground combat mobilities future technologies. The number of years alone made me recognize the importance and massiveness of such research. The challenges that are taken into consideration and how to approach or eliminate such challenges made me revise my research plan for my PhD dissertation.

Dr. Ramesh explained the steps and skills we need to design and verify a perfect automotive control software. A software that would define the future of daily life automobiles. Within the presentation, the GM EN-V is demoed, a car that looks like it came from the future, the solution for the car accidents and traffic jams challenges. The method to achieve such success is not an easy process, when Dr Ramesh showed the UML diagram for the automotive control software, it seemed more of a messy child drawing. So many objects with so many connections between them, no place for error. Verification step is probably the most important step in the development of embedded system. As a guy who worked as a software quality assurance, I know the importance of the validation step, developing automation software to test and verify blocks of code is a job that needs to taken seriously. Imagine the consequences if a defect is not discovered by the verification team and the automotive control software released to the public. It can cause a massive amount of damage and recalls.

Ms. Marsman seminar was the most interesting to me, the two part seminar was presented in a very professional way. So many ideas were discussed. In the hackathon part of the seminar, Ms. Marsman mentioned project done in a hackathon that can create an interconnected virtual reality worlds using Kinect 2 sensor and Oculus Rift. This made me think of a future solution to the interactivity challenge in the online learning. Imagine if you can be in a virtual class looking at the professor and the class students and interact with them as if you are attending a real class. Such technology can make a difference in this world. Ms. Marsman also mentioned a lot of resources provided free of charge for students, a good tools that will help students be more productive such as DreamSpark from Microsoft. The second part consisted of a demo of Construct 2, a 2D game development software that makes 2D game development as easy as one can imagine. I do have a lot of ideas for simple games but unfortunately I don’t have the time to develop them. It seems that with the help of Construct 2, I can develop my ideas in no time.

Along with all the enriching ideas and resources I was provided in the seminars, I also got to learn how to present my ideas by looking at the professional people doing it. I learned about new technologies, research, and tools that might help me in my research. I’m really grateful that I attended all these seminars.

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