Software Visualization at CodeFreeze 2017

January 18, 2017

The University of Minnesota’s Software Engineering Center and DevJam recently hosted the 12th annual CodeFreeze symposium. Over 300 attendees enjoyed this year’s symposium, which revolved around the theme of “Software Innovation.”

A challenge for businesses and developers has been figuring out how to harness a vast sea of data to more quickly come to better decisions.  This has led companies and researchers to seek ways to leverage the innate capacity of users for understanding and finding patterns in images—a capacity that largely untapped in our software development, deployment, and business support roles. CodeFreeze 2017 explored how visualizing large amounts of information can aid in real-time problem solving. Speakers from around the country showed how visualizations for architecture and deployment of software at "internet scale" can radically improve the construction and manageability of our systems.

2017_codefreeze15.jpgDuring an engaging opening keynote address, Puppet Labs Co-founder and Senior Director of technology at Pivotal, Andrew Clay Shafer, spoke about the “why’s” of software visualization, expanding on the idea that humanity has long passed the point of making sense of all available data.

Founder of Pricing Innovations, Esra Kucukciftci, followed Shafer.  Her presentation focused on the “what’s” of visualization.  She brought attendees through a careful overview of how visualization tools can be used to familiarize the space between what is and what could be, as well as offering insight to both customer and businesses.

In the afternoon, participants were invited to engage in any one of the five interactive breakout workshops.

  • Senior Architect at Thomson Reuters, Dave Hendrickson, presented on how to build enterprise big data systems and enable visualization of big data.
  • Senior Manager at Best Buy, Patrick Bergstrom, shared insight into the methods and best practices Site Reliability Engineering teams use for visualizing over 2 million data points per minute, and how this data supports the engineers and their incredibly fast resolution times. 
  • Target Analytics and Business Intelligence Lead Devi Kyanam and Senior Developer Joe Wartick presented the many ways Target is using the concept of Internet of Things to drive an initiative from the grass-roots level to achieve energy efficiency in all Target stores, such as building a visualization tool to fix condensation issues in a store.
  • Lean TECHniques consultant, Brandon Carlson, talked about visualizations that help make previously invisible data visible and how this can propel professional teams toward greater insights.
  • Finally, Honeywell Service Designer Max Peterschmidt’s presentation showed the way in which visualization can be a powerful form of storytelling.

2017_codefreeze60.jpgThe final keynote of the day was a close look at the future of virtual reality and augmented reality. RedfishGroup’s Stephen Guerin demonstrated how technology is currently migrating from the screen to the environment.  Applications for his relatively cheap, off-the-shelf systems are being used to help teams train and manage emergencies, such as wildfires, hazmat, flooding, and traffic evacuations.  Guerin showed how, with the ubiquity of live-streaming videos via social media, it’s possible to create real-time models of scenes using browser-based photogrammetry to re-project reality onto 3D models augmented with spatial visualizations.

CodeFreeze was made possible by the The University of Minnesota’s Software Engineering Center and DevJam, as well as Pivotal, Dell EMC, Veritas, TitanData, Semantify, Target, and Best Buy, whose generous sponsorship was integral to the success of the event.

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