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Posted by raherschbach on 20 Dec 2017

Once, engineers talked about software-defined radios. Now many are talking about “software-defined everything.”

According to SDxCentral, the new term encompasses “any physical item or function that can be performed as or automated by software.” When you tap the Uber app for your ride home from the movies, you’re making use of “software-defined everything.” Other examples, according to SDXCentral, include GoPros, remote-controlled thermostats or security cameras, drones, and self-driving cars. 

The rapid expansion of software-defined products and processes was the focus of an IEEE workshop held at Capitol Technology University in December. The event, sponsored by the university's electrical engineering department, featured a keynote address by Dr. Yang Guo of NIST’s Internet and Scalable Systems Metrology Group.

Guo briefed participants on software-defined networking (SDN) and SDN-based programmable measurement. Other presentations at the event focused on the Internet of Things, the FCC regulatory picture, the path from 2G to 5G, and the Army Research Laboratory’s use of software-defined radios.

According to Dr. Nayef Abu-Ageel, academic dean at Capitol and chair of the university’s electrical engineering department, the workshop was intended to highlight emerging developments in the market – developments which, he said, could impact curriculum choices.

“We see a need for network engineers to boost their programming skills because of this trend, Abu-Ageel said. “Software is replacing various hardware functions, so it’s important for network engineers to understand the software and how it works.”

A benefit of the event is that it facilitated discussion and exchange of ideas among subject matter experts and faculty members from multiple universities, including Capitol. That kind of interaction creates a valuable synergy, Abu-Ageel said.

It also benefits students. “Capitol has a long-standing mission to provide an education that reflects emerging developments and industry needs, and we achieve this mission in part through partnerships with organizations like IEEE,” Abu-Ageel said. “As  a small, agile institution, we can respond to developments quickly. Our faculty can come back from an event like this with new ideas that they can implement in their courses.”

Capitol is the only independent university in Maryland with a specialized focus on engineering, computer science, cybersecurity, and business. For more information on Capitol’s engineering program, contact Dr. Abu-Ageel at mailto:nmabuageel@captechu.edu.

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