Computer Science Department

Information Technology Projects
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Summary

NYU's Information Technology Projects course, designed and run by Professor Arthur Goldberg, can place a team of talented masters student interns with you for 3 months. You design their project. The team of 3 to 5 masters students spends about a quarter of their time on the project. The team is jointly supervised by you and Professor Goldberg. A project will accomplish significant IT goals for you, such as building useful software with advanced technology. In turn, NYU asks you to make a contribution to the Courant Computer Science Department to support its graduate program. Under Professor Goldberg, NYU's Information Technology Projects course has completed 55 successful projects with 25 New York companies and organizations in the last 5 years.

Status

This page refers to the Information Technology Projects course taught by Professor Goldberg up through Spring 2007. For information about current and future offerings, please see the Computer Science Department web page as www.cs.nyu.edu.

Education

The Information Technology Projects course offers students a unique opportunity to learn about the entire software lifecycle, from business need to deployment. The internship enables Professor Goldberg to amplify classroom instruction about IT project planning and implementation.

The students are earning a Master of Science in Information Systems degree, which involves 13 courses split between Computer Science and the Stern School of Business. Courant and Stern are world-class educational institutions, highly ranked in evaluations.

The students are highly talented. They meet high admissions standards, for example GRE Quantitative and Analytical must both be above 85%, at least one above 92%.  All of the students have at least a couple of years of work experience. The projects course is taken during one of their last 2 semesters, so they've already CS courses including algorithms, networking, and databases and business courses such as technology planning and managing organizations.

Results

Clients of NYU's Information Technology Projects course achieve significant benefits.

* High Quality Project Execution:  Using a graduate student team allows you to accomplish substantial results, with modest effort and a high degree of focus. If your project is a software development effort they analyze your business needs and prototype code with extensive functionality. If your project is a software purchase evaluation (about 15% of projects) they produce a detailed evaluation of your needs, a comprehensive review of suitable commercial products and a recommendation indicating which solution offers the best value. All intellectual property produced by the project becomes your property.

* Close Evaluation of Potential Future Employees:   Many students have been hired by clients upon graduation because of the excellent work performed during a semester project.

* Exposure to New Methods and New Research: You can explore new opportunities that your full-time staff does not have time to investigate. In addition, the outside perspective of the NYU team may facilitate exploration of delicate political situations which would create conflict if your full-time staff explored it.

* Direct Involvement of Professor:  You receive hours of Professor Goldberg's guidance and advice, spread across the duration of the project.

* Public Relations and Corporate Community Involvement:  Through public events like the DemoShow and announcements by Professor Goldberg you increase visibility at NYU for future hiring and corporate community relations.

* Chance to Give Back:  You build a relationship with Courant and NYU by contributing to a superb educational program.  You can also feel good about investing in student learning and contributing to higher education.

How to participate

If you're interested in being a client you should talk with Professor Goldberg (artg@cs.nyu.edu, 212 998-3014) before the start of a semester. Begin the discussion by describing a problem you would like solved, and suggesting the approach you would consider for the solution. Professor Goldberg will help you structure a proposal for a successful project.

Ideally, a software development project involves most of the software development lifecycle, including most of these steps:

  • determining requirements,

  • writing a specification,

  • designing an architecture, and

  • implementing a prototype.

The project should also employ broadly available technology that the students and Professor Goldberg find interesting and understand, such as databases, the Web, jsp, asp, Java, C++, XML, etc.  We favor 'experimental' projects, which are not on your 'critical  path'.  We excel at investigating new technologies or methodologies.  Other characteristics that increase the chance of a project's success include:

  • well defined goals

  • convenient interaction with a small number (5 or fewer) people in your organization

  • a location near NYU, preferably in Manhattan

Professor Goldberg will help scope a project with achievable goals.

A software purchase evaluation project can involve any kind of business need.

A senior person in your organization with the appropriate authority must authorize your participation in a project. To participate in a project you must assign a 'project manager' who will provide weekly guidance to the students with respect to your objectives and help them obtain the resources they require. The 'project manager' should expect to spend about half a day a week on the project. Typically, they greatly enjoy the experience.

Assuming a suitable project can be identified, Professor Goldberg will write a project proposal like the following. Once you approve the description, it can be circulated to students.

 

Morgan Stanley

Company Description

Morgan Stanley has earned a worldwide reputation for excellence in financial advice and market execution. The 58,000 members of Morgan Stanley in 28 countries connect people, ideas and capital to help our clients achieve their financial aspirations.

Proposal: XBRL taxonomy object model and document processor

Businesses and governments are making a massive global efforts to standardize the organization, definition and presentation of financial information. The information ranges broadly across many industries and many types of information. Technically, the extensible business reporting language (XBRL; see WWW.XBRL.ORG) is being built to encode this standardization. XBRL is an electronic format for simplifying the flow of financial statements, performance reports, accounting records, and other financial information between software programs. XBRL is based on XML. Two hundred corporations, including Morgan Stanley, are involved in the effort.

XBRL is quite complex because the information it must represent is complex. Consider, for example, the complexities across the multiple dimensions: industries, data types, corporate departments, nations, and languages.

Analogous with XML schemas, the structure of an XBRL document is described by a schema or "taxonomy" definition. Programmers write application that read, analyze, process and output XBRL documents. The development community sorely needs an object model that describes the structure of XBRL taxonomies. Given a taxonomy object model (TOM) a programmer could easily write an XBRL document processing application that could read a taxonomy and read, process or write XBRL documents.

The goals of this project are to:

*Write, in Java, an open-source XBRL taxonomy object model
*Develop, in Java, if time allows, a simple XBRL document processing application

This project will require extensive expertise on XML (which can be obtained during the project) and involve extensive study of the XBRL architecture and specification. This is a significant opportunity to be one of the first 100 people in the world be become expert in this new and important technology.

Intern Address

1585 Broadway, at 48th

Company Web site

www.morganstanley.com

Project manager

Junior manager or non-manager

Resources that will be made available to students

Access to any sample data, code and information. Temporary use of computers.

NYU semesters start in early September and mid January. At the beginning of the semester Professor Goldberg staffs projects. (In a given semester 3 to 5 projects will be conducted.) In class, he describes all the proposed projects to the students. Students indicate their interest level for each project. Professor Goldberg allocates students to projects. It is important for each student to be placed on a project they find interesting. He staffs projects by balancing student interest and the need to provide an appropriate set of skills. If you propose a project, it will probably be staffed, but a project may not be staffed if students do not find it interesting or cannot supply the right set of skills.  

Project Execution

Professor Goldberg and his students devote considerable effort and intelligence to your project. The course is tightly scheduled to accomplish as much as possible during the 14 weeks of an NYU semester. This helps train the students to prosecute IT projects efficiently. Three meetings and a show structure the semester (the 'purpose' column describes just software development projects):

Event

Time

Purpose

Kickoff meeting

Week 2 or 3

Start the project.

Professor Goldberg and the students on your project meet you and your team for 2 to 3 hours at your offices. Your project manager and authorizing manager must attend.

Professor Goldberg and his students learn as much as they can about you, your organization and the project's goals. We plan the initial steps for gathering requirements, and producing a specification and designing an architecture.

Initial logistical arrangements are made.

Transition meeting

Week 7 or 8

Verify the correctness of the Project Plan.

Professor Goldberg and the students meet you for a couple of hours at your offices again. The students present a lengthy Project Plan they've prepared.  An examples can be seen at the link below.


The plan discusses their analysis of the project's requirements, specification, and architecture. The Project Plan proposes an implementation strategy, tools, schedule and task assignment.

Hopefully, you and Professor Goldberg approve the Project Plan. Otherwise, rapid remedial action is set in motion.

Final Show

Week 15

Demonstrate the results.

In a conference room at NYU all student teams present their results. Each of the 3 to 5 teams staffs a booth with a poster, handouts and a computer demonstration of their achievements in the project. A selected public attends, including faculty, current and former students, current and former clients, and friends and family.

Wrap-up meeting

Week 15

Transfer all of the team's accomplishments to you.

Professor Goldberg and the students meet you for a couple of hours at your offices. They deliver to you the final version of software, data, plans, documentation and anything else they produced in the project.  Examples can be seen at the links below.



During the semester students devote considerable time to your project. Essentially all the time a student spends on the Projects course is devoted to your project. Each student spends about 10 to 15 hours per week on the course (which may be one of up to 5 courses). Depending on your project's needs, logistics, and the students' other commitments a student may spend as much as a day a week at your offices. So the total student effort on a project is about 4 person months.

In addition to the meetings above, Professor Goldberg closely monitors your project's progress by watching and evaluating student presentations in class and monitoring student weekly progress reports.

Clients and Projects

These companies and organizations have participated in Arthur Goldberg's IT Projects course between 1998 and 2003.

Company or organization

Project

Adolescent Health Center of the Mount Sinai Medical Center

Evaluate electronic medical record systems

Agency.com

Adaptation of Market Data Visualizer for Viewing Internal Survey Data

Bcorner

Real-time multi-site e-commerce search

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Analyze And Prototype E-Business Opportunities
Analyze ROI of web site development and marketing

Chase Manhattan Bank

Knowledge management architecture that integrates multiple repositories including structured (i.e. SQL RDBMS) and unstructured (Domino) data

Deutsche Bank

Email confirmation of financial transactions
Prototype a Web-based ad-hoc query tool for fixed income controllers
Prototype Web and email confirmation of financial transactions

Entrust

Prototype XML access control

Extractive

Prototype soft currency for an auction Web site

GIST Communications, Inc.

Research and Architect Pay-Per-View movie ordering on the Web

Home Box Office

Prototype hbo.com database and scheduling movie rentals
Evaluate "digital asset management" software
Prototype XML data definitions for asset cataloging
Prototype a demonstration subscription and pay-per-view internet product

HotDocs Professional Services

Specify and prototype a client and prospect communication tracking system

ILX Systems

Prototype Real-time data management
Prototype some Java graphics
Prototype a Real-time data scroller; GIF generation
Open up ILX's proprietary data interface with JDBC

Iname

Web server performance; Abuse protection

Information Builders, Inc.

Intranet site for phone bill analysis
Enterprise information portal Web site activity analysis

InterWorld

A Product Feature Request Tracking System

Kozmo.com

Evaluate electronic commerce technology evaluation; Prototype intelligent movie matching

Lehman Bros

Analyze Intranet performance

Morgan Stanley

Analyze Web performance
Prototype Intranet IRC
Prototype an XBRL taxonomy object model and document processor

New York Academy of Medicine

Social Service Program Database and Web site

New York City Board of Education

Prototype a Web-enabled decision support system
Prototype a Web site to help students and parents a select high school

NYU Stern School of Business

Strategy To Integrate And Web-Enable Databases
Evaluate report writing tools for Stern databases
Evaluate development tools for uploading to palm pilots

Price-Waterhouse

LAN performance
Prototype Printer management software

Salomon Smith Barney

Prototype strategy, standards, product & purchasing repository for IT
Analyze ActiveX and Java Comparison
Prototype a Fixed Income Markup Language

The American Stock Exchange

Prototype an Intranet phone book

The Gertrude Stein Repertory Theatre and Bell Labs

2-way n-person audio/video over the Internet

Union Bank of Switzerland

Prototype an Intranet chat recording

Vindigo

Analyze Server Capacity

Wiley Inc.

Prototype a Web-based Presentation Management System




Selected Successful Projects

We describe some successful projects, organized by industry.

Finance: Morgan Stanley: Prototype an XBRL Taxonomy Object Model and Document Processor, Spring 2003, a software development project

Businesses and governments are making a massive global efforts to standardize the organization, definition and presentation of financial information. The information ranges broadly across many industries and many types of information. Technically, the extensible business reporting language (XBRL; see WWW.XBRL.ORG) is being built to encode this standardization. XBRL is an electronic format for simplifying the flow of financial statements, performance reports, accounting records, and other financial information between software programs. Two hundred corporations, including Morgan Stanley, are involved in the effort.
Analogous with XML schemas, the structure of an XBRL document is described by a schema.
We've developed software and a web site to retrieve, view, edit and store XBRL taxonomy schemas and documents. This is a challenging project because XBRL is quite complex because the information it represents is complex.

"Arthur, it has been a pleasure to work with you and your students.  I presented you with the challenging task of designing and developing software to manipulate XBRL documents and taxonomies.  Doing so was difficult because the XBRL standard is complex and changing, as are the existing XBRL document handling tools.  Your team rose to the challenge with impressive industry and intelligence.  They produced a prototype system that will be extremely useful to us in two ways.  First, we've learned a great deal about XBRL and existing tools.  And second, the prototype will  provide the basis for further development of Morgan Stanley's XBRL code base.

We look forward to working with you and your students again soon."
Regards
Mark Schnitzer, Executive Director, Equity Research, Morgan Stanley
 
Final report

Media: Wiley Inc.: Prototype a Web-based Presentation Management System, Fall 2001, a software development project

Wiley is a global publisher of print and electronic products, specializing in scientific, technical, and medical books and journals; professional and consumer books and subscription services; and textbooks for undergraduate and graduate students.
We have developed a web-based "tour slideshow" development system. Slideshows will be used by sales people for "guided tour" online demos of CD ROM based products. The development system is extremely convenient and easy to use. The system has been enhanced and put into production use.

Project plan
Final report

Medical: New York Academy of Medicine, Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies: Develop a Social Service Organization Web Site and Database, Spring 2003, a software development project

CUES is a research consortium that conducts collaborative, multi-disciplinary, population-based research, with a special focus on low-income, disadvantaged populations. CUES seeks to bring about a better understanding of diseases and other threats to health concentrated in urban areas. Their work helps develop interventions to control urban epidemics of substance abuse, HIV and other infections, asthma, and other illnesses.
To support its work, CUES has collected a database that describes social service programs such as health care, drug treatment, etc., that operate in Harlem and East Harlem.
We've designed and developed a production-quality Web site that helps social service case-workers rapidly select the appropriate program and facility for people in need. In particular, a search can locate all social services for a person with multiple problems, such as a woman who is "pregnant, a drug user, suffers from domestic violence, and needs food".

"We had the community launch of our Resource Guide here at CUES last week. It went great. The community members were ++ excited about the project and we have a student who is spending the summer going to community agencies and publicizing the guide so that we can enroll as many agencies as possible.
It's been a true pleasure working with you and the students. I hope we have a chance to work together again soon."
Sandro Galea, MD, MPH
Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies
New York Academy of Medicine


The web site: www.harlemresourceguide.org
Final report

Public sector: NYC Board of Education: Web site to Help Students and Parents a Select High School, Fall 2001, a software development project

This web-based system is for the NYC-BOE High School Admissions process, which starts each Fall for students going into High School. The system will provide information to Middle Schools students in 8th and 9th grade, who are applying for admission into High School, to make informed choices of which High School to apply to. The type of information which needs to be available to students will be based on an interactive system, where the user (student, parent/guardian, guidance counselor) would be prompted to enter specific student information (age, gender, area of study, educational goals, address...) and based on this information would identify programs suited for the student with locations throughout the city. In addition to the location (which should be displayed on a map, using our ArcIMS product), there would be the ability to get some "profile" type and other information on each of the schools. This profile information will be basic items, such as address, contact names and numbers, registers... And the other information would be links to other school specific information already on our website, and information similar to College admissions information (previous year applications, numbers accepted, profile of accepted students, minimum requirements, etc...) to help make informed decisions.
Link to web site

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e-mail: webmaster@cs.nyu.edu