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AASU's School of Computing responds to fast-growing handheld computing market

Savannah, GA—AASU's School of Computing is keeping pace with the fast-growing market for handheld devices—cell phones, Smartcards, and personal data assistants—thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant supports the creation of a new curriculum on developing software for these newer and smaller platforms.

The handheld computing field is rapidly growing and has "few experts, scarce teaching material, and a tremendous demand for trained professionals," said Mark Burge, computer science professor and principal investigator for the grant. Steven Jodis, assistant dean of the School of Computing, is the co-principal investigator.

The computing school is "developing this curriculum now as a proactive measure to prepare students for future careers in computing," said Burge. The goal is to ensure that "all of our students will be technically prepared to develop software for handheld and ubiquitous computing devices."

AASU is one of only four institutions of higher learning in the country to offer this curriculum. The school of computing is equipping students and faculty with handheld computers, Smartcards, and a variety of wireless networks. A new curriculum already has been integrated into two required courses and by spring 2003 it will become the basis of three new upper-level elective courses.

The new curriculum will allow the school to prepare students for programming traditional embedded processors and handheld devices that use the more modern JAVA programming language. This approach is popular with students who are curious and eager to learn how to program wireless applications.This semester, more than twenty-five students participated in a new graduate course on programming handheld and ubiquitous computing devices.

"Cell phones, pagers, and personal data assistants have become a part of our everyday lives," said Stefan Wirtz, a master's student at AASU. "Sooner or later everyone is going to have a handheld device of some sort." Wirtz is interested in computer security and computer forensics and says the courses will give him an advantage when the time comes to find a job "since software design companies are focused on these applications."

At the conclusion of the three-year project, the investigators will share the teaching modules via a series of papers and a forthcoming textbook, Java Micro Edition Programming, authored by Burge and another AASU Professor, Daniel Liang.

More than eighty percent of AASU's computer science graduates are employed upon graduation as software engineers, while the remaining pursue graduate degrees. The School of Computing houses the computer science, information technology, and engineering programs. The school also participates in the statewide Yamacraw initiative to make Georgia a leader in the design of broadband communications systems and hardware.

For more information about the School of Computing, call 912.921.5600 or visit www.computing.armstrong.edu or vision.armstrong.edu.vision.armstrong.edu.

April 22,2002


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