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University of Advancing Technology is an elite, private college that serves its student body by fostering knowledge creation and academic excellence in an environment that embraces the young technophiles of the world. With three centers of research and a suite of technology-centered undergraduate and graduate degrees, the University is a recognized leader in technology education.
Written by: Advancing Computer Science student Christopher Peterson
While browsing Stack Overflow one day, I stumbled upon a question asking why sorted arrays process faster than unsorted arrays. This led me to learn about the concept of “branch prediction.”
Branch prediction is a processor’s way of speeding up processing time by guessing what a result is going to be. For example, if you have a conditional if statement, it will guess that it will evaluate to “true” and do all the processing for that. The downside to this is that, while it’s fast if it guesses correctly, it has to go back and process everything again if it guessed wrong.
That being said, it doesn’t always guess “true.” It looks for patterns in what it’s processing. For instance, going through a loop of thousands of conditional statements, it will look for “TFTFTF,” “TTFFTTFF,” “TTT…TTFFF…FF,” or any other combinations of true and false it can. With that, it is then able to guess correctly most of the time and speed up processing.
Image by Orwa diraneyya, via Wikimedia Commons. Used under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.
Branch prediction is something that happens at the hardware level, so it’s not something that a programmer can really program into his or her software. However, compilers can add some hints to the compiled program to give the processor an idea of what the branch prediction should be like. The compilers usually do this automatically in the background based on the level of optimization they are using, but some compilers also allow the programmer to add compiler flags to their code to aid in this process.
Regardless, branch prediction is a nice optimization that a lot of modern processors use. Whether or not a programmer realizes it’s happening, it (usually) aids in speeding up even the messiest of programs, but can also slow down the program if it can’t find a pattern.
For the second consecutive year, University of Advancing Technology (UAT) co-sponsors and hosts CodeDay Phoenix, the largest 24-hour youth coding challenge in the state, on UAT’s Tempe technology-infused campus. The event kicks off on Saturday, February 18, at noon, with coders competing continuously for 24 hours and closes with an awards ceremony led by a panel of judges at noon on Sunday, February 19, 2017.
CodeDay Phoenix empowers over 110 students ages 8-16, putting the focus on engaging young adults in underserved populations and areas with limited technical resources. UAT is proud to co-sponsor alongside State Farm and provide mentors to the next wave of young advancing computer science majors and game programmers, hoping to further the STEM initiative locally with Arizona adolescents, making our state a technology hub for the future.
As an educational institution offering degrees in Computer Science and Game Programming, UAT is aware of the lacking number of students enrolled in STEM-related degrees and supports community outreach events like CodeDay Phoenix and is honored to host the event.
Previously, UAT sponsored the 2015 Great Arizona Code Challenge, where UAT awarded scholarships to the winners. Over the years, UAT has created and maintains longstanding relationships with a pipeline of future technologists from the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT), and promotes the need for a greater focus on STEM education nationwide. By hosting the largest CodeDay in the state of Arizona, UAT aims to increase the chances for the younger generation to spark an interest in technology.
UAT Provost Dr. David Bolman said, “It is absolutely incredible that teens and pre-teens can come together, team up and spend 24 continuous hours from start to finish creating a new and complete game, mobile app or website. It is equally incredible that so many teachers and developers volunteer to spend a day and night mentoring these future technologists. The Arizona community is counting on these teens to choose to study STEM in college and then go on to spend their lives creating and supporting the information tools that drive our economy and allow us as people to routinely do things we could only imagine. Events like CodeDay Phoenix are among the best way to prepare us and them for what the next few years has coming.”
UAT President Jason Pistillo couldn’t agree more, as he said, “In addition to our work with code camps like this, we are very active in Arizona’s K-12 community, partnering with districts and charters to help them with their curricular and hardware needs. We remain vigilant in our efforts to mentor youth in STEM areas such as robotics, computer science and cyber security – allowing students access to our on-campus Cyber Warfare Range – the first in Arizona. The delta between national demand for programming students and the number of potential graduates is both alarming and something we at UAT take very seriously. We are pleased that so many other local colleges have begun to address this need, many of whom have adopted UAT programs and curriculum.”
About CodeDay Phoenix:
CodeDay fills the gap between in-school programs, which explain how to code, and the eternal question of students: why do I need to know this? Students start out CodeDay by pitching ideas for projects, and then spend the next 24-hour coding the most interesting ideas in small groups. Throughout the event, students get help from our staff in the form of workshops and during-event mentorship. CodeDay is a national program supported by Student RND.
Do you have friends or siblings who like to pop Bubble Wrap? Most people enjoy this simple, yet satisfying task, which is why it’s the perfect idea for a video game!
“Bubble Wrap: Pop A Palooza” was produced by Ara Shirinian, Principal Designer at WePlay Media and Tyler Weiss, a UAT student dual majoring in Game Programming and Advancing Computer Science, in partnership with Sealed Air, the official Bubble Wrap brand.
Bubble Wrap: Pop A Palooza is a fun game with fundamentals which resemble the old “Whack A Mole” carnival game but replaces the mole with fun activities and gameplay derived from playing with Bubble Wrap.
“We saw a great opportunity to do something fun with Bubble Wrap and noticed that while there are several Bubble Wrap style games available, none really did the idea of Bubble Wrap justice,” Shirinian said.
So how did UAT student Tyler Weiss get involved? He heard about WePlay Media‘s competition for game ideas involving Bubble Wrap. Tyler and friend Mike Citrin were matched up with Ara Shirinian to get started on the project. Over the course of a year, Tyler worked on this game as the lead programmer between taking a full load of classes and working a job on the side. Tyler, Mike, Ara and a few outsourced artists and backend developers were able to bring Bubble Wrap: Pop A Palooza to completion.
This clever and simple gameplay lets the player go at their own pace, but speeds up the faster you can go. The game was designed with almost an infinite ceiling of performance, continually giving players the chance to improve and learn how to play the game better.
Within each stage, there are four different goals to achieve. The player can decide which goal to focus on each round or attempt to fulfill all four goals in one stage, which presents quite a challenge. This feature was designed specifically to create a cool dynamic where playing for goal A is a different experience from playing for goal B, and so on, massively increasing playability.
There are 40 different stages to unlock and play, with new features, obstacles and abilities introduced as you progress with more stages and features coming in future updates.
Bubble Wrap: Pop A Palooza has fun power-ups that don’t require real money purchases, allowing players to reach their full potential in the game.
While playing, beware of hazards such as beetles, bombs and protective metal domes that make the bubble popping experience much more exciting.
Bubble Wrap: Pop A Palooza is now available in the Google Play store, download for free and get popping today!
The Southern Colorado Girls STEM group lead by Professor Jill Coddington, UAT Program Champion in Advancing Computer Science and Robotics, spent the weekend at UAT’s Tempe campus for a Future You University event during June 10-13, to offer these students a taste of the technology-infused innovation that surrounds our students each and every day.
These 17 middle school students won a STEM competition and their prize was a technology-filled experience at UAT. Over the weekend, the girls participated in workshops and seminars, campus tours, a weekend stay in UAT Founder’s Hall dormitory, Veggie car races, a 3D printing demo, Innovation Games, fun with Lego Robots, intro to Network Security, film screening and info session, time in the Maker Lab and movie night.
For many of these students, this was their first time flying on an airplane, visiting Arizona and living in a college dorm. It’s great to see teenage girls ages 13-15 getting excited about college and technology at a younger age than many typical college bound students.
Mark Chaszar, General Manager at UAT Founder’s Hall said, “The girls had an absolute blast! They were so excited to experience what it’s like to attend college and play with our awesome technology. I bet we’ll see some of them back at UAT as students in the future!”
Professor Jill Coddington who spearheaded this initiative said, “The Future You U was an eye-opening event for the STEM girls that participated. Living in dorms and having roommates they did not know was only the beginning of the “college life” experience. They learned about many possible STEM degrees at UAT and got a taste of each with hands-on seminars to learn and explore. It was an exciting and amazing opportunity for this group of Colorado girls!”
Thanks to Professor Jill Coddington for arranging this wonderful experience!
Advancing Computer Science (ACS) is the scientific and practical approach to computer science and building software systems. ACS studies the development of building software applications and efficient algorithms that access, process and store information.
ACS Professor James Gordon said, “Computer Science is the planning, developing, building and maintaining of software systems, which could include a mobile app, a desktop app, a database app or a fully developed website.”
Professor Gordon teaches ACS students emerging programming languages across a variety of platforms including open source and enterprise languages such as: Python, C++, C# and Java. It’s important to give students as much experience in different languages as possible because in their future careers students could see many languages and they should be familiar with as many programming languages as possible.
UAT’s Advancing Computer Science majors master software engineering principles necessary to be successful in their careers which fall into a variety of jobs such as software development, web development, database management, application engineer, big data expert, IT infrastructure and the list goes on and on!
When seeking a job in Advancing Computer Science you probably wouldn’t consider applying to a company like Nike, but they actually need a lot of programmers to keep the business running. In order to build a shoe, computers are programmed to tell a person in the factory what material, color, style, size and other specifications to produce the end result, which at Nike is a pair of athletic shoes. At Bank of America, it may be software testing before a new app is released or at Amazon, the website layout and content needs to updated 24/7. Think about the evolution of cars that now have Bluetooth, navigation and GPS. There is a great deal of programming required to operate the state of the art technology found in new cars on the market today. In fact, the car is the number one product sold that has the most computing chips today.
Advancing Computer Science is currently in such high demand with employers that some UAT students are already working full time in the field and have yet to graduate.
Students studying Advancing Computer Science at UAT are learning to develop the software of the future as the tech needs of the next generation is rapidly in demand.
We encourage you to learn more about pursuing a degree in Computer Science.
University of Advancing Technology (UAT) now offers the option to earn a professional certificate in technology-centric disciplines. These certificate options derived from the reality that local business is starved of technology talent and as such find themselves having a difficult time scaling for growth. As a long time partner meeting the needs of business demands, UAT is seeking to impact sector growth head-on. These certificate options afford business owners and executives the ability to grow their company while offering employees seeking career advancement opportunities an affordable option to add professional development to their resume.
UAT President Jason Pistillo said, “UAT understands that a company’s growth can be stifled due to lack of tech talent. In order to be part of the solution, UAT wants to help businesses reach their full potential by nurturing the current technology workforce and by providing the skills employees in tech need to further their careers. Educating and developing existing staff saves employers time and money by offering their employees a new skillset to take their company to the next level.”
Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer of Security Horizon, Russ Rogers said, “The potential for an organization to succeed, and even excel, at meeting its goals is becoming much more dependent on the people within the organization who best understand current technologies. Without this understanding, the organization may be lacking the critical technological advantages needed to perform at the highest level, and may be putting their most valuable assets at risk of compromise.”
UAT’s initial roll out includes options for cyber defense and for software development. Both options offer an intensive courseware for business owners to offer their technology staff in order to learn the most up-to-date information and techniques.
These comprehensive Certificate Programs offer many benefits to business owners and employees, such as flexible schedules – evening, online and hybrid classes are available to accommodate the working professional, a hands-on and skills-oriented classroom environment taught by industry professionals, and access to all campus resources and technology. Certificate credits earned can be applied to a graduate degree, upon completion of three courses; certificate credits can transfer towards a master’s degree.
UAT has partnered with Arizona Bank and Trust, who have agreed to assist startup companies by providing funding and financing for a grant to enroll tech employees in the certificate program. For large companies, employers have the ability to request a customized curriculum in an effort to address specific, more tailored needs.
Presented by Startup AZ Foundation, Code Day Arizona is a 24-hour statewide coding event that puts the focus on engaging young adults in underserved populations and areas with limited technical resources. Code Day Arizona will be held the weekend of Feb. 13-14, 2016, at University of Advancing Technology, in collaboration with State Farm, Go Daddy, Student RND and Valley Leadership. This event will focus on bringing students in from cities and towns across the state of Arizona in an effort to promote technical skills among youth and make Arizona a technology hub for the future.
As an educational institution, UAT is aware of the lack of students enrolled in Computer Science and STEM-related degrees and supports community outreach events like Code Day Arizona increasing the chances for the younger generation to spark an interest in technology.
According to Jaime Casap, Chief Education Evangelist at Google, “By 2020, the United States will have 1.4 million computer science jobs, according to estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with only 400,000 computer scientists to fill them.”
UAT President Jason Pistillo said, “To echo Casap’s quote, for some time now there’s been more demand for programming graduates from industry than students enrolled in Computer Science majors to fill the deficiency in the job market. When we look out across the census data, we realize that there are simply not enough young people engaging in this amazing field, to create the passion before they enter college. We’ve decided to get proactive and make a concerted effort to help; from our longstanding support of schools like EVIT, our sponsorship of the 2015 Great Arizona Code Challenge, to evangelizing the need for a greater focus on STEM education, to hosting Code Day Arizona, the first statewide coding event at our technology-infused campus. We aim to fix the root cause of this national problem and encourage both young females and males to enter into STEM fields.”
Code Day is a 24-hour event that challenges groups of student’s ages 9-20 to form teams to build amazing applications over a 24-hour hacking period. The purpose of Code Day Arizona is to expose youth to future career opportunities that are available in the fields of information technology and coding. The event is a little bit like “Shark Tank,” and lot like “How it’s Made” where students pitch ideas from video games to apps and work with mentors to take their ideas from concept to reality in 24 hours. The event also engages the support of nearly 80 tech mentors from local technology companies and startups, as well as nearly 100 volunteers overall. Mayors and government leadership from cities all across Arizona have been provided with scholarships to send students from their communities to this statewide event. Girls who wish to attend can do so for free when they register here using the promotional code: “GIRLSCODE”
Code Day Arizona begins at noon on Saturday, February 13, and concludes at noon Sunday, February 14, 2016, at the University of Advancing Technology, 2625 W. Baseline Rd, Tempe, AZ 85283.
“We are thrilled to host the largest state-wide code day ever,” said Dr. David Bolman, Provost, University of Advancing Technology. “I can’t wait to see what these young students, who come together from all points of Arizona, create while being immersed in tech for 24 hours on our campus. As we look at workforce development in Arizona, it is beyond clear that to be truly competitive nationally in filling the vast need for STEM positions; we must invest early in our young talent. Code Day Arizona is a critical, exciting and must-do initiative that lights up young people towards a future that we are absolutely counting on.”
UAT Professor of Computer Science, Dr. Jill Coddington, recently served as a judge for the Pikes Peak Christian School (PPCS) Middle School Science Fair in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The winners for each age group were given a UAT T-shirt along with a ribbon and monetary award. Congratulations to the winners! We hope you feel proud when you wear your UAT GEEK shirt.
This awesome kickstarter wants to add a suite of sensors to your Smartphone, taking it one step closer to a tricorder! The Sensordrone made by Sensorcon is “The 6th Sense of Your Smartphone and Beyond!”
The Sensordrone allows you to run hundreds of new, previously impossible Apps. Includes several new sensors and bluetooth to make your smartphone smarter.
SUCCESS! This project was backed 1,025 backers pledged $170,017 of their pledged of $25,000 goal to help bring this project to life.
Performing division operations on a microcontroller (or any processor) is an intensive and cycle-eating process that can drastically slow down your application. Unfortunately, it’s a critical component of dealing with real-world information, such as using a moving average to smooth noisy sensor data.
Alan Burlison’s blog post guides us through some of the pitfalls of the division operation, and several clever methods for drastically improving performance while still being able to use the operation.
Technology Review is featuring a series of articles related to businesses integrating humans, robots, and algorithms into their operations. One theme that catches the eye is based on Foxconn’s plans to replace factory workers with industrial robots, a plan that was announced last year. Foxconn’s Chinese operations provides electronics manufacturing services to Apple and other leading tech companies, and services a considerable chunk of the consumer electronics market worldwide.
From a business perspective, the benefits of automation are obvious: this is cheaper in the long term since robots can work longer hours than humans, do not ask for wages or benefits, and never require training. From the technologist’s perspective, this exemplifies the time-honored promise of efficient systems and automation. From the human worker’s perspective, however, automation eliminates job opportunities and threatens to eradicate potential career paths for those for whom the benefits of this type of work outweigh the risks and disappointment of doing repetitive tasks in sometimes questionable working conditions.
For more on what this trend may mean to workers and industries, read an interview with Andrew McAfee from the same issue.
Yahoo! has selected 37-year-old Marissa Mayer as their fifth CEO in 4 years.
Mayer could be a perfect fit for Yahoo!, who has struggled to find a focus that will make the company profitable again. Mayer was Google’s 20th employee, and first woman engineer. Yahoo! hopes Mayer’s experience in software engineering, product and user experience design will make Yahoo! relevant again as a technology company, rather than the media company which former CEO Terry Semel turned it into.
Mayer’s first priority at Yahoo! might be to make Yahoo! Mail more secure by adding HTTPS connections. Yahoo! also needs to focus on several of their popular products such as Flickr and Yahoo! News, and to innovate (and purchase) new products to keep up with the likes of Google and Facebook.
Massimo Banzi helped invent the Arduino, a tiny, easy-to-use open-source microcontroller that’s inspired thousands of people around the world to make the coolest things they can imagine — from toys to satellite gear. Because, as he says, “You don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great.”
Cooperative Education Program
Cooperative Education students gain valuable experience while playing a meaningful role in the development of our nation’s secure communications or in the production of foreign intelligence. Programs are available for students majoring in Computer Science and Electrical or Computer Engineering. Right from the start, you will be involved in real life projects and will have full use of NSA labs, equipment and advanced technologies. These areas will offer you increasing challenges and satisfying learning experiences, since our mission demands that we work on the cutting edge of technology.
As a participant in NSA’s Co-op Program, you will earn a competitive salary and enjoy full benefits, to include travel reimbursement, tuition assistance, and more. You will operate under a rotational program, alternating semesters of full-time work with full-time study from entry into the program until graduation. We require a minimum of 52 weeks of Co-op work experience prior to graduation.
During your tour, you will work a regular 40-hour week. Each work tour is designed to reveal the specific areas you may want to focus on as a career. Qualifications include a major in Computer Science or Computer/Electrical Engineering in a four-year program with a preferred GPA of 3.0. For Engineering, the college or university must be ABET accredited. You can submit an application to the Co-op Program early in your sophomore year with work tours beginning after completion of your sophomore year.