a blog by engineers, for engineers
Project Lead the Way
September 11, 2013
Improving the state of healthcare through innovation requires investing in others to join you on the journey; not just for today, but for the decades to come. Project Lead the Way has established the Computer Science and Software Enginering course that teaches computational thinking to high school students, and it will pilot in 60 schools across the country this fall. Providing exposure to a wide variety of computational and computer science concepts, students can program a story or game in Scratch, write a mobile application for Android, and learn about knowledge discovery and data mining, computer simulation, cybersecurity, GUI programming, web development, version control, and agile software development.
August 26, 2013
This past June, 2,500 associates from across Cerner came together for DevCon, our internal developers conference. Now in its 3rd year, DevCon is a two-day, engineering-led conference that was created to bring together Cerner associates involved in all aspects of development and technology. DevCon is organized and run like many other developer conferences, complete with a call for papers and a talk selection committee. This year, we had 80 talks covering a wide array of topics such as big data, user experience and design, DevOps, and mobile development.
August 14, 2013
When I graduated from college, I thought I understood what it meant to develop software in the real world. It required process. It required troubleshooting. It required quality. However, to me, process meant waterfall. Troubleshooting meant trying a few things and then asking for help. Quality meant manual testing. Agile methods were not unheard of when I graduated in 2001. My professors noted that iterative development was better than waterfall; they just only taught waterfall.
The 30 Days of Code Experiment
August 6, 2013
In software development, we solve problems. As we solve these problems, we build connections in our minds of how to look at a problem, relate it to previous problems and solutions, and re-apply past approaches and techniques. These behavior habits build dogmatic ways of thinking and limit design choices to selective technologies we’ve used in the past. As we all know, you have to continually learn new technologies and different ways of thinking to stay current in the ever-changing landscape of software development.
Thinking in MapReduce
July 31, 2013
This is the blog form of the Thinking in MapReduce talk at StampedeCon 2013. I’ve linked to existing resources for some items discussed in the talk, but the structure and major points are here. We programmers have had it pretty good over the years. In almost all cases, hardware scaled up faster than data size and complexity. Unfortunately, this is changing for many of us. Moore’s Law has taken on a new direction; we gain power with parallel processing rather than faster clock cycles.
FIRST Robotics Championship Competition in St. Louis
April 23, 2013
Cerner places a high value on talent development programs offering students the experience to build practical and tangible skills for the modern work environment. As part of this focus, Cerner supports FIRST Robotics, a competition providing experience in software engineering, where students learn to deal with complexity, time constraints, quality, and technical communications. Sound familiar? I wish they had this program when I was a kid! High school students from Kansas City will be testing their minds, willpower, and teamwork in this global robotics championship competition April 24-27 in St Louis, Missouri.
Learn what the rules don't cover
April 19, 2013
Most technical problems are like games. All of them have a way to win and all of them have rules; the easiest way to ensure you always win is to learn the rules inside and out, and more importantly what the rules don’t cover! Paying attention to what the rules don’t cover is what leads to out of the box thinking. What sets the great players apart from the rest is learning what the rules don’t cover which allows for creativity and, sometimes, shortcuts.
Ruby at Cerner
April 5, 2013
Cerner’s journey with Ruby started in the summer of 2009. We selected Ruby on Rails for rapid development of the Cerner Store to prepare for release at the Cerner Health Conference that year. In three months, with three engineers and a designer, we wrote and released the first version of an e-commerce web application. Two of those engineers, including me, had never worked with Ruby before but quickly realized the power and expressiveness of the language due to resources like Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby.
Modularity in Medical Imaging
March 29, 2013
Developers often take for granted the level of flexibility and customization that is available within the software they use every day. Consumers of imaging software have traditionally been completely confined to interpret exams a specific way, and frequently in ways that are unintuitive. Every physician, specialist, technologist, med student, and others across the continuum of care has a preference as to not only how exams are laid out, but what information is displayed with the images and what transformations would be applied or processed automatically.