Information Technology Projects
Spring 98 Proposals

Prof. Arthur Goldberg
Computer Science Department
Courant Institute of Mathematics
New York University

The Gertrude Stein Repertory Theatre and Bell Labs: Learning Worlds

Description of company or organization
The Gertrude Stein Repertory Theatre (TGSRT) is a unique organization that has does R&D with digital technology in the performing arts. The Multimedia Communications Group at Lucent Technologies/Bell Labs in Holmdel NJ works on a range of Internet applications from voice to video.
Proposal
TGSRT and Lucent are working together on Internet-based technologies which enable remote presence and distance learning/collaboration. The goal is to develop "learning worlds" that incorporate a variety of live interactive multimedia, including streaming video, audio, 3D environments and avatars controlled by intuitive input devices. Another metaphor might be "building a world stage on the Internet." We work with VRML 2.0, Java, and different audio and video compression formats over UDP and TCP/IP. The project would address one or two of the following challenges:
The address where students would intern
15 West 26th Street NYC NY 212-725-0436
Company Web site
www.gertstein.org
www.bell-labs.com
www.bell-labs.com/blnew.html
Authorizing managers
Doree Seligmann, Group Head in Multimedia Communications Group, Lucent/Bell Labs, doree@dnrc.bell-labs.com, 732 949-4290
Project manager
John Reaves, TGSRT, gstein@inch.com, 725 0436
Resources that will be made available to students
NT Workstations, T1 network, 3D development tools

Home Box Office: Evaluate Commercial Systems for Purchase

Corporate Description
Home Box Office (HBO) is the pay television programming division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P. and provides two 24-hour pay television services, HBO and Cinemax. These services are provided via cable systems, microwave transmission or directly to owners of individual satellite dishes, to over 30 million subscribers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. HBO is the largest single-brand subscription service in the world as well as one of the top direct marketers.

Launched in November of 1972, HBO is the most watched, oldest and largest premium television service in the United States.

Description of the department
Systems Development.  HBO depends heavily on networked computers.  HBO won a 'Top 100 Users of Internet Technology' award from ComputerWorld in 1997.  We work on everything from www.hbo.com to internal systems for sales and system development.
Like many artistically oriented corporations, HBO supports multiple platforms, including Macs, Win 95 and NT PCs, and Solaris Unix.
Previously, NYU Projects students added a database backend to our viewing schedule on the Internet.
Proposal
HBO proposes two projects to evaluate expensive and important systems they are considering purchasing.  Evaluating software is an important skill, because companies constantly face the 'build' versus 'buy' decision.  Installing an important system carries significant, long term ramifications, because of the high cost and difficulty of changing to systems.
Software is difficult to evaluate because it is so complex, and changes so rapidly.  Further complicating evaluation, vendors frequently misrepresent the capabilities of their products and those of their competitors.
  1. Evaluate Intranet-based "Project Tracking" software: Like all large software development departments, HBO builds and maintains many systems concurrently.  Each system is described by many parameters: identities of builders, designers and managers; purpose; status; age; cost; supported platforms; future development deadlines; etc.  HBO wishes to select and buy an Intranet-based system for tracking projects.  The system would help managers, developers and users know about the past, present and future status of internally developed systems.  We do not know whether such any Intranet-based systems exist, although our intuition says they probably do.
  2. Evaluate "Digital Asset Management" software: HBO owns, stores and manages extensive digital assets, including films, music, still images, screenplays and other objects.  These objects occupy many GB of storage.  In addition, they're characterized by numerous interrelationships.  HBO needs to conveniently store, manage and access this data.  Several vendors provide "Digital Asset Management" systems; NYU's goal is to help HBO determine their requirements and select a system.  HBO has already begun this process.
  3. Evaluate "Source Code Control" software: We had previously used a Mac product. As we move to more heterogenious environments we'd like something cross-platform so that we can do code management on UNIX, NT and Mac in the same way. The server certainly can be based on one environment but have good cross-platform client interfaces.
The address where students would work
HBO, 1100 6th Ave., at 42nd St.
Company Web site
www.hbo.com
Authorizing managers
Rob Martin
Liz Flanagan, 512-1342
David Wolk, (212) 512-5987, david.wolk@hbo.com
Project managers
Resources that will be made available to students
Necessary office space, telephone use, computer software databases, etc.

ILX Systems: Securities Data Delivery and Quality Assurance Bug Recording

Description of company
ILX is the fastest growing U.S. provider of real-time information for the brokerage industry. The signing of the Merrill Lynch account in early 1997 made ILX the leading Market Data provider.
Proposals
  1. Scrolling ticker. NYU students have already written an applet and CGI program which polls the ILX pricing database and displays prices.  We'd like to extend this project by using one of the commercially available Java classes for the scrolling ticker. Fine tune both scrolling & time intervals in which information is received. Allow for hyperlinks to ILX quote application in scrolling text. Skills needed: Knowledge of Java and C.  Supervisor: Jacob Maltz.
  2. GIF generation. ILX's products includes charts showing historical and current prices on trading instruments such as stocks, bonds and options. We use GIFs as a way to return this data to the user. The charts displaying 180 data points of prices.  We'd like to extend existing charting applications to chart change data for 3 or more instruments.  All curves would indicate 0% change at the left, and then change along the time axis.  Supervisor: ?.
  3. Customization (profiling): Provide a Web page with a preset number of frames. Each frame contains a dropdown list of URLs that can be assigned to it. In addition users are able to specify size of each frame, as well as change the number of frames they would like to see when they enter the site. Some other configurable options could include: background & foreground color, font, etc. for each of the frames. A CGI (or NSAPI, ISAPI) program needs to be written that reads in the information saved by the configuration program and displays appropriately configured Web page. Supervisor: ?.
The address where students would intern
123 William Street, 17th floor, New York, NY 10038
Company Web site
www.ilx.com
Description of the department
Systems Development
Authorizing managers
Goran Skoko, goran@ilx.com, 510-3141; Ed Rodriguez, edrod@ilx.com, 510-4130.
Project manager
Jacob Maltz, <jacobm@ilx.com>, 123 William Street,  17th floor, 510-3296
Resources that will be made available to students
ILX will provide cubicles, computers, software and any other materials that may be useful for successful completion of the project.

InterWorld: A Product Feature Request Tracking System

Description of company
From www.interworld.com: "InterWorld Corporation is a leading provider of enterprise-class Internet commerce software systems. The company develops, markets, and licenses high-performance, mission-critical enterprise commerce applications focused on the selling chain. InterWorld's products have been adopted by Global 2000 corporations, major software and hardware vendors, electronic merchants, manufacturers, resellers, distributors, and governmental authorities worldwide. Founded in 1994, InterWorld is a privately-held company headquartered in New York."
Proposal
Like all software producers, InterWorld receives many requests to change or improve their products.  Requests may ask for changes in functionality, performance, interfaces, or other characteristics.  InterWorld receives about a dozen requests daily.  The requests come from many sources: customers, potential customers, and a myriad of people inside InterWorld, including developers, sales people and marketers.  InterWorld wants to carefully track requests, because they often form the basis of important features in future releases and products.
In this project, we will build a request tracking system.  The project will involve several phases:
The address where students would intern
The InterWorld headquarters and development center, 395 Hudson St. 6th Floor, New York, 301-2500
Company Web site
www.interworld.com
Description of the department
The "Product Management" department is responsible for setting product direction for the company.  Product Management ensures that the development organization is capable of delivering the "right product at the right time." Product Management is responsible for the prototyping of new product features/function, which includes defining the applicable technologies utilized. The department works closely with development's Feature Team Leads and System Architect(s) to transition prototypes into marketable products. Product Management serves as the keeper of record for all functional specifications, business plans and developments product roadmap.
Authorizing managers
Todd Zangrillo, VP, Human Resources, todd@INTERWORLD
Paul Finster, Director, Product Management, 301.2439, pfinster@interworld.com
Project manager
Paul Finster
Paulo Kaiser, Product Manager, 301-2567, paulok@interworld.com
Resources that will be made available to students
Office space and 1 desktop PC and 1 laptop PC.  InterWorld will supply development environments and dial-in access, so students can work on development from any PC equiped with a modem.


Department of Neurology, New York Medical College: The Hypertext Neurological Knowledgebase (THyNK)

Description of company or organization
THyNK is a non-for-profit corporation formed by a group of academic neurologists to set up on the Web a complete clinical information resource for physicians caring for people with neurological disorders. The directors of the corporation are Joseph Masdeu, M.D., Ph.D., who is Professor and Chairman of Neurology at New York Medical College, Clinical Professor of Neurology at NYU, past-president of the American Society of Neuroimaging and author of 103 scientific papers and three books. Roger Q Cracco, M.D., who is Professor and Chairman of Neurology at SUNY-Health Sci. Center in Brooklyn and a the author of more than 200 scientific papers in the field of Neurophysiology, and Sudhansu Chokroverty, M.D., who is Professor of Neurology at the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine of Rutgers University, the author of more than 150 papers in neurology and Chairman of the Sleep Disorders Section of the American Academy of Neurology and of the Sleep Disorders Advisory Panel of the National Institute of Health.
Proposal
Background. The explosion of knowledge in the clinical neurosciences is affording new effective treatments for patients with neurological diseases (pain, headache, epilepsy, stroke, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, head trauma and many others) but often physicians cannot readily access current information to help them care for their patients. To address this problem, Dr. Joseph Masdeu is directing a team of about 120 academic neurologists to build on the Web the Hypertext Neurological Knowledgebase (THyNK), a comprehensive, up-to-date information resource for clinical neurologists, neuroradiologists and neurosurgeons. Each author will enter information directly on his/her section of the knowledgebase by means of user-friendly Web editors, such as Microsoft Front Page or Adobe Site Mill.

Challenges. A prototype development site produced by previous projects students is running.  We see several, fairly independent, projects which students could participate in this semester:

This project would result in a Web site with content that would be very helpful for the care of patients with neurological diseases.
The address where students would intern
Department of Neurology, New York Medical College at Saint Vincents Medical Center, 153 West 11th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues) and 715 Broadway, Room 12xx.
THyNK can be worked on outside business hours, during evenings and weekends.
Company Web site
http://www.nymc.edu/thynk/thynk-home.htm and http://thynk.cat.nyu.edu/
Authorizing manager
Joseph C. Masdeu, M.D., Ph.D. Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurology,
New York Medical College Clinical Professor of Neurology
New York University School of Medicine
E-mail: masdeu@nymc.edu
FAX: (212) 604-3101 or (914) 993-4295
Telephone: (212) 604-2400
Project manager
Joseph C. Masdeu
Resources that will be made available to students
THyNK owns a high-performance PC located in 715 Broadway.