I’m looking to do software development in the Cities this summer

I’m looking to do software development in the Cities this summer to enrich my teaching here at UMM. Any ideas or suggestions?

For years (over a decade) I’ve talked about spending a summer working in industry, primarily as a way of gaining some real-world experience in software development that I can use to enrich my teaching here at UMM. In my courses I bang on at great length about how teams work together to build software, but I don’t actually have a ton of personal experience of this kind of development. I’m not completely making it up; I’ve built a lot of software alone and in small groups, I talk to alums about their industrial experience, and I do a lot of reading. Still, it would be nice to actually spend a few months in that world to better ground and inform my teaching.

While our son was growing up, though, the idea of spending a summer away from my family really didn’t appeal. He’s now graduated from high school and is off in the world, so this has become a fairly realistic option. Consequently I’m talking to various friends, alums, and industry types in an effort to identify plausible opportunities.

I’m pretty flexible on this, but I’m definitely interested in doing development rather than R&D (the activity that my degrees and experience would tend to suggest). I’d probably prefer to be a member of an agile team rather than working primarily solo on a task. It would also be important that the job really just be a summer gig; my job here is more than enough to keep me busy, so I’m not looking for something that will bleed into the school year.

Anyone out there know of any opportunities that might make sense? Feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly (mcphee AT morris DOT umn DOT edu).

Many thanks!

P.S. In case you stumble here and have no idea who I am, a very brief synopsis: I’ve been programming since the late 70’s, and teaching computer science here at the University of Minnesota, Morris, since 1991. I have lots of experience with Java, also quite a lot of Ruby, Python, and Groovy. I’m useful with JavaScript and Grails, and have experience with Rails but it’s a little rusty. I was once quite competent at C and then C++, but haven’t used either in years. Most of my dissertation work (mid- to late- 80’s) was in Common LISP; more recently I’ve been teaching Scheme and Racket a lot, and also have some experience with Clojure, Erlang, and Haskell. I learn new languages, tools, and systems pretty quickly, as that is often required in my job. My primary research area has been evolutionary computation (EC), and I’ve led or assisted in the design and implementation of numerous EC systems over the years. I’m experienced in experimental design, data collection, and statistical analysis and data visualization. I’m an experienced writer and public speaker; my research is heavily cited and has won several best paper awards.

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A golden view (& a little history of Minneapolis)

A golden view
A golden view

So I’ve been a pretty good boy while here in Minneapolis, and have left my camera back at the B&B every day, focusing instead on important things like course prep. Yesterday, though, I gave myself one day of photography, focusing on St. Anthony Falls, the Mill District, the Mill City Museum, and the Guthrie Theater.

While I was in the Guthrie I made my first trip up to the 9th floor where the Dowling Studio is. The 8th and 9th floors are mostly for education and cutting edge work, and the architect felt that this called for yellow windows to ensure that the people working there always had a "sunny" view. I’m not sure I buy that argument, but I must say that they provide a really amazing view of the city, including this shot back across to the old Mill District and the great Gold Medal Flour sign. So the weird colors here aren’t my doing, and nothing in Photoshop, but are the result of shooting through several inches of yellow-tinted glass.

If you’ve been to the Guthrie, but never been up to the 9th floor, I definitely recommend it. To get there you have to catch an elevator at either the 4th or 5th floor (only staff can use that elevator to go to the 1st floor) and head up to the 9th floor. It’s totally cool to go there, because that’s how you get to the Dowling Studio, which is the third and much smaller theater at the Guthrie. I was there in the mid-to-late-afternoon, and the light was really interesting, but I suspect that it changes quite a lot all through the day.

In all my wandering around I also learned a ton about the origin of Minneapolis (which I’d known almost nothing about). I’d always assumed the Cities were here primarily because of the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, but no! Minneapolis is all about the water power of St. Anthony Falls, the only waterfall of note on the entire Mississippi River. This initially powered sawmills which sliced up the northern forests into planks, and then drove the amazing flour milling industry that for 50 years made Minneapolis the largest producer of flour in the world.

Most of the old mills are gone, but there’s are bits of a few, including this old General Mills grain elevator and the shell of the adjacent mill that now houses the Mill City Museum.

Fascinating stuff, and a really fun day of taking photos.

Conveniently yesterday’s prompt from The Daily Shoot was

Make a photograph that features a sign of some sort today. Maybe a stop sign. Maybe an information sign. Or an advert.

Hey, I took a lot of photos of signs (many, in fact, of this wonderful Gold Medal Flower sign), so here you are.

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