India gets a new prime minister …aaand a NEW PRESIDENT?

Not to take anything away from Mr. Modi, but this celebration’s a little closer to the heart!

Congratulations to our very own Seidenberg grad student – Arbaaz Sayyed, on being elected the new President of the Pace Indian Students Association (PISA).

We were lucky enough to spend some time with him before he headed off to India for the summer – one heck of a victory lap and some serious planning for PISA! Here’s what we found out.

Arbaaz Sayyed, President, PISA
Arbaaz Sayyed, President, PISA

Q. Pick 5 words that describe you the best.

A. Leader. Perfectionist. Experienced. Sociable. Um, modest? (…he said with a wide grin)

Q. What makes you qualified for this role?

A. Within the last 8 years, I’ve been a Committee Member, an Organizational Secretary, and a Chairperson. I’ve even coordinated activities for the IEEE in India .It becomes a-lot more fun when you love what you do. My first job at Pace was with SDACA. We did some great work for the student body.

Q. Tell us about PISA.

A. PISA is a cultural, professional and social association made up primarily of Indian students at Pace. Up until last year it was purely for Lubin students, but now it’s open to everyone. One of our main focuses this year will be to better connect with all the incoming international students so that we can offer them a better experience at Pace. I’d also like to slowly grow the work PISA does and collaborate with other existing associations & clubs at the university, so as to provide a more holistic member experience.

Q. What will your first move be?

A. Right now, our agenda is to plan and execute events for humanitarian causes, professional development workshops and networking opportunities for students.

Q. How can one join PISA?
A. Just walk into one of our meetings. It’s that simple! You can even email me at as07113n@pace.edu or call me on 646-492-8590. 

“It’s a proud moment,” says Dean Amar Gupta of The Seidenberg School of Computer Science & Information Systems.

Dean Amar Gupta

“The Pace Indian Students Association (PISA) originally started as the PISA Graduate Student Organization at the Lubin School. During recent months, its scope was widened to include Seidenberg, and we are honored that Arbaaz Sayyed from our school has been elected as its President. With his interest in Leadership activities and his diverse background, Arbaaz is ideally suited to lead this organization. My hope is that the scope of the activities and the membership will continue to grow under his leadership.”

                            

– Interviewed by Suhail Bhandari

A Lesson in Managing Distributed Teams

by Suhail Bhandari

AgileNYC-Seidenberg

When it comes to agile methodology and managing distributed teams, there’s only one master.

          “I gotta girl in Paris, I gotta girl in Rome
          I even gotta girl in Vatican Dome
          I gotta girl right here, I gotta girl right there
          And I gotta girlfriend everywhere…”

                                             – Lou Bega

The last AglieNYC meeting, held at Pace University’s Seidenberg School, was a real eye opener.

With the world becoming smaller and businesses embracing buzzwords like multi-team, multi-location, multiple business area and even multi-time zone, it’s surprising how many people still use ‘distributed teams’ to defend moments of unproductivity.

“Distributed teams are inevitable, so they can’t be excuses!” began Ian White and Andrew Borrows, the presenters that night. “Lets start out by listing the biggest problems faced by POs and distributed teams.” The problems were:

  • Inefficient communication
  • Poor prioritization of tasks
  • Inconsistent technology and connectivity
  • Different work cultures and languages
  • Ineffective decisions and delegation
  • Distrust between teams
  • Time zone irregularities
  • Duplication of efforts

There’s a common feeling that the main issue is all about ‘lack of communication’. However, the problem is actually poor project structure and teamwork.

“Now we can find solutions by asking ‘why,’ at each step…”

  •  It’s a PO’s job to point out problems a team’s having when they can’t see it for themselves. Some ways to do this are one on one chats, setting weekly goals and holding teams accountable, timely interaction, periodic reviews, and reports to measure team effort vs. client happiness.
  •  Remove cultural limitations and distrust. It’s a widely held perception that Indian software professionals will always say ‘yes’ to everything when asked a question such as ‘are you on schedule?’ or ‘Do you think you will hit the deadline?’ By discussing this very point with offshore teams and explaining that a problem shared is a problem halved, it can start to build a safe environment for employees, whereby a dishonest ‘yes’ at least turns to an honest ‘not sure’.
  •  Incorporate Skype and WebEx into daily routines. Frequent simulated face-to-face discussions provide valuable feedback – instantly.
  • Share the risk, don’t just outsource projects. This encourages teams to ping-pong ideas back and forth, reducing scope creep to make room for ad hoc requests.
  • Follow the first principle of the agile manifesto – Thou shall make our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. This helps POs control the project pipeline and not overload their team.
  • There is no excuse for starting a project with incomplete or inaccurate high-level requirements. This almost always causes time and resource wastage.

Management is a crucial aspect of ensuring any team operates efficiently – especially if that team happens to be dispersed around the globe. As always, good planning and communication really helps keep things running smoothly. A distributed team is not a limitation; it’s an opportunity – and it’s time we take advantage!

 

FTC is Happening THIS WEEKEND

The FIRST [For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology] Tech Challenge (FTC) Championship is happening this weekend, on Sunday February 16th, as we briefly mentioned in a recent post. With the date fast approaching, we’re eager to tell you more about the event.

FIRST Tech Challenge allows high school students to work hand-in-hand with technical professionals to develop a solution to the annual challenge. Students design and construct robotic devices which can be autonomously programmed or operator-controlled to perform various tasks. ”  – FIRST web page

FTC is an annual tournament for students of ages 12-18, lasting from September, when the year’s project topic is revealed, until April, when the world championships are held. This year’s topic, titled “BLOCK PARTY!,” is a square-fielded game that will peg two-teamed ‘Alliances’ against each other in a match of obstacles and time limits with a points system to determine a winner. For this weekend’s challenge, 34 teams (down from the original 84  in the qualifying rounds across New York) will compete, and only 5 will move on to the next level in early April.

In preparation for the championships, more than 100 members of Pace’s community have helped make these games possible, namely Dr. Richard Kline, who is head mogul of the Hudson Valley chapter. The Seidenberg community has been involved with FIRST  for more than a decade, not only for the Tech Challenge, but Lego Leagues as well.

For more information about the tournament this weekend, or upcoming championships, visit Pace’s FTC page.

Orange Healthcare Infographic Champions Telehealth

In a world where millions of people are connected to the web through various technologies, it makes sense to take advantage in a meaningful way.Telehealth is a promising industry that connects patients with healthcare professionals via the web, reducing the strain on doctor’s offices and hospitals, helping to treat illnesses during their early stages, and helping to streamline the healthcare process so that more patients can be seen and receive treatment in less time.

A new infographic by Orange Healthcare gives a colorful insight into telehealth and its successes over the last year. It includes information on how much telehealth has been implemented around the globe and how many patients benefited from it, as well as projecting future figures – such as how an estimated 1,800,000 patients will receive remote monitoring care in 2017.

Other details on the infographic include the notion of more technology being designed to monitor, collect, and communicate health information securely to health providers so they can act immediately. Finally, the improvement of life quality is touched upon, with Orange Healthcare stating that 168 million hospitalization days could be saved, as well as 158,000 years of life, with the implementation of telehealth on a greater scale around the globe.

Telehealth is one of Seidenberg’s four initiatives that form a crucial part of our research. Our research into telehealth includes exploring issues related to technology, the law, public policy, and business. Together, faculty and students work to advance the enormous potential telehealth has to change the field of healthcare.

Seidenberg’s Assistant Professor of Information Systems, Darren Hayes, Featured in E-Commerce Times Article

21 September 2013:

“RSA Warns Customers Off Suspected NSA-Tainted Crypto Tools”  

In the article linked to above, Seidenberg professor Darren Hayes speaks to the ECT News Network about complications between technologies and security protocols. The topic has been heavily circulated in the media and through academia since humanity’s pronounced dependance on technology and even more so since the recent events concerning the NSA, national security, and privacy of US Citizens. The specific technology discussed in the article is the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator (Dual_EC_DRBG).

The Dual_EC_DRBG is a PRNG [pseudorandom number generator] based on the elliptic curve discrete logarithm problem, the idea being that finding the discrete logarithm of a random elliptic curve element with respect to a publicly known base point is not feasible. The bigger the elliptic curve, the more difficult it is to find that discrete log.

The problem is that there is a backdoor in the NIST SP800-90 Dual-EC-PRNG standard. This was first discovered by Microsoft researchers Dan Shumow and Niels Ferguson, who discussed their findings at a Crypto 2007 rump session.”

Hayes works alongside many projects in technological cryptology and security and these issues often present themselves as fruitful topics of debate across the globe.

Dual_EC_DRBG or Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator

 

Computer Science Grads Take On High Starting Salaries

Good news for Seidenberg’s graduating Class of 2013 – a new salary survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has revealed that Computer Science majors can expect a higher starting salary than last year’s graduating class. The increase is an impressive 3.1 percent, making the average starting salary $64,100.

According to the survey, the average salary for Class of 2013 graduates across all disciplines (Business, Communications, Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences and Math & Sciences) is $45,327, with Computer Science being the third highest paid after Business and Communications. So Computer Science majors going into graduate employment can expect to earn a whopping $20k above the average.
The prospect of receiving a higher starting salary applies to graduates who majored specifically in Computer Science. Other majors in the Computer Science discipline, such as Information Sciences & Systems, didn’t see an increase – but with an average starting salary of $55,200, it’s still a respectable figure well above the average for all disciplines.

Even though 2013 has been a golden year for Computer Science salaries, the different needs of the market mean that next year could be the winner for your major: between 2009 and 2010, the average starting salary for Information Sciences & Systems graduates leapt up by $3,000! So let’s keep working toward our degrees – Seidenberg students are in a great position for a good starting salary, no matter what.