Monthly Archive for September, 2012

1st Status Update

Time as been flying by fast since the project officially kicked off on Sept 18th. Our team has been hard at work; today we had our first progress report. All of the teams had 10 minutes to share their progress with the rest of the teams.

I presented Looking Glass’s report with the assistance of the white board. The key to making a successful presentation was to describe our group’s concept concisely and make it relevant to the audience. It is important to hit on the main points without distracting the audience with technical details. Also, it is important to give the audience a direction of where we want to go without giving too much away.

In addition to giving a successful presentation I enjoyed listening to what progress the other groups are making. Our audience was bigger than expected and I was able to make a few contacts that will hopefully help us on our journey!

DARPA Innovation House

This is the post where I get to brag about what I’m doing. I’m the lead developer for one of the teams selected for the DARPA House Innovation Project. This is an eight week program that started on Sept 17th. This came at a great time for me as I wrapped up my summer internship as well as completed all my thesis requirements in August.

Let me share some of the DARPA Innohouse press kit:

http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2012/07/10.aspx

http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/10/darpa-innovation-house-project-imaging-data/

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/07/hackathon-guinea-pig/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/post/darpa-george-mason-seek-trailblazers-for-eight-week-innovation-house-study-program/2012/07/10/gJQAv06naW_blog.html

It feels great to be working for the agency that created the internet and was critical in the development of UAVs. I first took notice about the project in July reading engadget.com, a technology blog that I read practically daily. I decided to put together a proposal and a team and apply; and now here I am!

Our team is called Looking Glass. We are creating software that can extract meaningful information that is relevant to the user and present it to them in a meaningful way. We have reshaped our concept several times since beginning our project and are approaching this problem from different angles. I have started a new blog for our team at teamlg.org/blog. I’ll work on linking our team posts for Looking Glass to my personal blog site.

DARPA is experimenting on the feasibility of effective software design and development in a short-fuse, ‘crucible-style’ living and working environment. I have heard some chatter around the office that we might be lab rats in some type of social experiment.

There are lots of resources at our disposal some amazing mentors to help guide us. This is important as the objectives are not well defined on purpose, it seems like they really don’t want to risk constraining us. So far I have been working many hours and learning a ton. I feel like I need to work twice as hard in order to stand out amongst the other teams. At the same time this project is more of a collaborative effort and everyone has been really friendly and supportive so far. There are six teams total, and I am surrounded by a lot of talent; from nuclear physicists to digital signal experts to artists.

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One week before project starts

Over the past few weeks I have been keeping myself busy gearing up for the DARPA Innovation House project. At the same time I haven’t been trying to over-exert myself. My full team won’t be physically located together until the project officially starts. This makes it important to proceed carefully and make sure we have strong lines of communication open. I have spent considerable amount of time setting up the collaboration tools and researching various software components we will be using.

We are tacking a very complex solution in a very short time period. Our vision comprises integrating many different types of software and databases. Figuring out how to structure all of the different components and making them communicate with each other is an ongoing challenge. The amount of different technologies available can be overwhelming at times. We are still looking to add a core web developer to our team. They would be very helpful during the implementation phase.