NYU IT Projects Course, Demo Show Fall 2005, Tuesday, December 13, 5-8 PM

NYU Information Technology Projects Course

DemoShow Fall 2005

Prof. Arthur Goldberg

Tuesday, December 13, 5:00 - 8:00 PM

Room 1314 WWH, NYU Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences

251 Mercer St. (southwest corner of 4th St. – directions)

Food and drinks will be served.


Dear Friend

My students have produced great results this semester. To display their accomplishments they will demo their work. Therefore, I invite you to attend the NYU Information Technology Projects DemoShow. Students will present their work at 'trade show' style booths. Come and go as you wish. Meet NYU faculty, other NYU students, and former Projects students.

I invite corporations, government agencies and non-profits to discuss proposals for projects in future offerings of this course. The next offering will be Spring 2006, starting in the third week of January. Please view a description of the course and a list of our projects over the last 6 years.

The Projects

Bank of America: Investigate and Evaluate the Benefits and Risks of Using Open Source Software

Students: Olga Arbitman, Khalil Bechara, Eli Bernstein, Kevin McManus, Konstantin Peker

Sponsor: Susan E. Green

Open source software is code that is designed and built and built by the community and distributed with source code free-of-charge. Many open source programs have become widely used. These include Linux, OpenOffice, Mozilla, the Apache Web server, Java and MySQL and many others.

Large firms, like the Bank of America, should carefully evaluate and compare the benefits with the costs and risks before deploying any software, especially for 'mission-critical' applications. With respect to Linux they've already made this evaluation, and decided to use it.

Evaluating open source software presents a very different set of issues than commercial software. This project aims began that investigation for the architecture team within Bank of America's Corporate and Institutional unit.

First, we analyzed open source's potential financial benefit by classifying a handful of top commercial applications and platforms in use by the bank which could be replaced by open source products and quantifying the potential savings of such a replacement, when possible.

Because the risks associated with open source software differ greatly from those of commercial software they warrant significant investigation. Methods for mitigating the risks also require research. In this area we've investigated the following.

Second, anonymous surveys were conducted targeting IT architects, managers, and developers at eleven large Wall Street firms. The survey's goal was to provide both quantitative and qualitative data analysis of open source usage, practices, issues, and trends within “Wall Street IT”. Working from the following seven high-level objectives with respect to open source,

a questionnaire was developed, tested and administered. The resulting data have been summarized and categorized and will be presented at the demo show and the survey team will be available for questions.

Deutsche Bank: Design and develop a web-based interface for the New York Inter-Unit Clearing Function

Students: Mona Eldam, Anna Grebneva, Sumanth Hegde, Kevin Mahoney, Weiguo Wu

Sponsors: William Starita, and Javed Ahmed, Controlling IT, and Chris Hayward, Controlling IT Global Head

Inter-Unit clearing is the process of identifying breaks between the inter-company transactions booked in the ledgers. A break is “a discrepancy on the books of a brokerage firm” For example, consider a stock or bond trade. A break can occur because both the selling and purchasing firms submit a description of the transaction. If the two descriptions do not match, the result is a break.

The Inter-Unit clearing output is used by the bank's accountants to reconcile any inter-company differences to prepare a report on the overall financial position(s) of a group of companies for internal and external reporting purposes.

We helped convert an existing application from MS Access to an Oracle-based system with a web interface for reporting. This change has made the application more stable, scalable, and easier to maintain.

In the previous application, data feeds were manually refreshed by users, which often resulted in failures within the custom MS Access application. In the new system, the process to load feed-data has been automated. The system is now remotely accessible via a browser. Security is provided via password protection using an existing Oracle authentication login mechanism which many Deutsche Bank applications utilize.

The scope of the project is the following:

  1. Developed a solution for implementing a web-based ColdFusion reporting application for the NY Inter-Unit Clearing (IUC) Submission.

  2. The solution was based on existing technology used by other areas in Controlling for reporting. Specifically, we enhanced an existing website in the following manner:

  1. The application was designed so that the manual intensive month-end initialization process was eliminated. Instead, feeds are automatically loaded and no interference from IT is required.

  2. The application was designed in a way as to minimize codified business rules thereby making maintenance of these rules under the domain of the business instead of technology.

The main benefits of the project are the following:

  1. Improved Inter-Unit Clearing Submission process – reduction of system crashes and elimination of manual refresh process that is prone to delays and errors.

  2. Reduced IT support cost for NY IUC submission

  3. Provided the capability of adding additional rules dynamically using SQL statements without having the need to do any programmatic changes.

  4. Converted a legacy ‘Access’ reporting system into a world wide web friendly application interface which provides instant access for authorized users.

We helped design, implement and test the new system. The new system passed user-acceptance testing, and was placed into production on Dec. 5.

MetLife: Design and prototype internationalized portal for multiple devices using WebSphere Portal Server and Vignette 7

Students: James Chang, Chi Fai Cheng, Aleksandr Drel, Vidya Pai, Bill Shakos

Sponsor: Dave Ditillo, AVP - Corporate eBusiness IT

As MetLife expands its international services, it seeks to push content to various populations that speak different languages. Their units want to enable their applications to effectively and efficiently support internationalized content. We architect this in two steps: web application internationalization builds a framework that generalizes a web application so the app can handle multiple languages, regions, currencies, time, and cultural conventions, and web application localization takes an internationalized Web application and makes it linguistically and culturally appropriate for the target locale(s) (country/region and language) where it will be used.

To support an internationalized MetLife Portal, the following high-level requirements have been defined for the portal application:

The goal of this project was to research the topic of internalization within the context of portal applications, and to provide MetLife with a framework upon which to enhance existing or build new applications. To this end, we have designed and developed a sample product catalog portal application that has been deployed to IBM’s WebSphere Portal v5.1, and can consume dynamic content from a multitude of data sources. For the purposes of the demonstration, the application will retrieve information from a DB2 DBMS and an Ariba System. Given the locale (based on a registered user’s preferences or O/S settings) and device type information from the HTTP request header, the portal application renders the content in the appropriate language (US English, Spanish, or Chinese) and markup (html or wml). A BlackBerry simulator has been installed to demonstrate the rendering of the WML content.

One of the challenges in Internationalization is language translation. Automatic translation of content from one language to another is appropriate only to certain kinds of data. For most data that is tone/context sensitive, manual translation of data will be required until automatic translation technology improves. Therefore, we have proposed the use of multiple database instances that are pre-populated to store the content in the languages that MetLife will support for the particular portal application, and have used this same approach during the development of the prototype application.