Special Areas of
Software Development Expertise
We have been involved in a wide variety of software development efforts over the years. Below is a sampling which
helps demonstrate our extensive experience and versatility.
(1994 to Present)
- Developed and installed a finite-capacity scheduling system for a large financial institution's mass mail print and insert operation. The scheduler includes a custom discrete event simulator for verifying and finalizing production schedules that span a period of 30 days or more. Primary benefits of this package are: (1) turnaround time for schedule creation is decreased from weeks to hours, and (2) resident scheduling expertise is captured and automated so that other operations personnel can produce workable production schedules. The scheduler was recently enhanced to include in-process steps such as binding, collating, burst-and-trim, booklet-making and envelope printing. The scheduler was written in G2, which is an expert system development platform provided by Gensym Corporation.
- Developed wave-planning models in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) for assessing numerous material handling design concepts prior to detailed simulation. The models blended the use of specialized equipment such as high-speed sorters with company processes for picking and packing operations, and provided a means of assessing alternative equipment parameters, process flows and order fulfillment rules. The model logic was distributed between Excel, which served as the "front end", and Access, which executed the process logic. Although intended for use by material handling engineers, the ability of these models to use actual order data attracted interest from clients seeking an inexpensive rough-cut wave planner.
- Helped to develop, install and support a material tracking system for a centralized processing facility for perishable products. The system improved the accuracy and timeliness of shipments to individual stores by directing product to the correct store staging locations and capturing detailed product data for each shipment. This system was written in VBA and consisted of three distinct portions: (1) an Excel-based ordering system that used a form of EDI to collect orders from each store; (2) an Access-based host system that compiled the order data from all stores into a set of detailed work streams for several client work stations, and then prepared product shipment summaries and store invoices afterward; and (3) an Access-based client application that scanned individual trays of product and directed each tray to staging locations for each store requiring such product, while forwarding details of the scanned product to the host for invoicing.
- Developed a finite scheduler for a high-volume distribution center (more than half a million piece-picks per day), including simulation of custom-designed robotic piece-picking devices. This scheduler was also written in Gensym's G2 development platform, and served as a design tool during the development stage of the project. The application design allowed for simulated portions to be replaced by real-time interfaces to robotic control systems during installation without affecting the logic of the scheduler itself.
- Developed the software for a GUI-driven, automated production test system that combined several test stations with integrated electronic and electromechanical test fixtures for rapid and thorough testing of sensitive electronic devices. Features included real-time wave generation, sampling and processing techniques for instantly checking UUT compliance with protocol and signal level/timing specifications issued by the NSA. The user interface was designed to maximize test throughput while accommodating operators with minimal training. The test system was written mostly in the C programming language with National Instruments extensions for test equipment interfaces. This project required a security clearance.
- Designed and implemented a database application for an adhesives product manufacturer to facilitate VOC emissions reporting, and to provide a means of tracking and accounting for quantities of hazardous materials used during production, as required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. This application was written initially in FoxPro 5, and later upgraded to Visual FoxPro 7.
(1994 to Present)
- Completed a ProModel-based simulator for a Naval ship redesign project. The simulator was to be used in assessing ship capability under various surface and air assault scenarios. Included in the simulation were: LCAC launch and recovery operations; movement of troops, cargo and vehicles within the ship itself as well as to and from surface and air transports; air weapons assembly (bombs, missile and rockets); and internal ship resources such as elevators, cargo monorail, pneumatic hoists in the magazines and an assortment of material handling equipment.
- Served as a resident senior member of an international manufacturer's technical support team covering an enterprise network of NetWare/NT servers and clients, SAA gateways, and assorted LAN/WAN equipment. Installed and administered network servers, remote access and video conferencing applications, performed in-depth system troubleshooting and upgrade tasks, and mentored college students participating in cooperative internship programs.
(1976 to 1994)
- Served as a member of several project teams responsible for developing
advanced tactical equipment for detecting chemical and biological warfare
agents. Detection methods employed leading-edge technologies such as ion
mobility spectrometry (IMS) and antibody/enzyme binding and fluorescence.
Project teams were multi-disciplinary; successful participation required
interacting with mechanical, electronics, logistics and industrial engineers
as well as biochemists and physicists. Regular government briefings on technical
progress and other program matters was required. Also co-developed a real-time,
multi-tasking kernel for the 8051 family of microcontrollers, developed engineering
standards for system development and configuration management, prepared development
and test specifications, conducted acceptance tests and configuration audits,
and developed project baselines including technical scope of work, task schedules
and cost accounts. Maintained a security clearance throughout this period.
- Served as a developer of real-time, multi-tasking systems for retail point-of-sale
transaction processing and back-office operational support, and later as
a developer of real-time environmental control and monitoring systems for
nationwide retail and grocery store chains. Retail point-of-sale systems
were developed using proprietary toolsets, one of which was distinctly Algol-like
in structure. The execution environment and certain communication electronics
for these systems were also proprietary in order to achieve high transaction
rates, and key portions were written in Data General Nova assembly language
for speed and compactness. These systems were installed in several large
retail department stores across the U.S. Systems for environmental control
were microprocessor-based, wall-mounted units located at individual retail
and grocery stores. Although designed to run largely unattended, these systems
permitted remote access and monitoring by trained personnel for periodic
checks, parameter adjustment and/or troubleshooting as needed from a central
location. The high level logic, particularly for refrigeration control, was
written in PL/1; lower-level logic for I/O and interrupt handling were written
in Z80 assembly language.
- Lead developer and technical support resource for a high-volume order entry
and production system that was used to create new account kits, deposit booklets
and other items that could not be produced economically on other types of
printing equipment. The application was written in Fortran-78 and hosted
on a Texas Instruments 990 minicomputer running the DX10 operating system.
The database was custom built for speed: standard indexed file access functions
and relative record positioning were used rather than relying on external
calls to a separate relational DBMS.
- From 1976 to 1978, was employed by Philips Data Systems (an affiliate of
North American Philips) as an installer of small business computers and office
applications for payroll, accounts payable, billing, and so forth. Responsibilities
included setting up and checking out the computer system and application suite,
and then training end users on how to use it. Some installations required making
minor changes to the software in order to conform to the needs of the business. ■
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