The Institute - December 2019 - 9

found all throughout Cary, not just in
areas with reported overdoses.
In addition, Biobot found that prescription opioids were driving much of the
consumption. The town used the information to tailor outreach programs around
prescription opioids, resulting in a threefold increase in people using drop-off
points to dispose of their leftover prescribed opioid medication.
Biobot also measures levels of naloxone
(Narcan), a medication that can rapidly
reverse opioid overdose. Preliminary
results showed that Narcan usage correlates with reported overdoses in Cary,
but the levels found in the sewers were
much higher than expected, implying
many unreported overdoses. The city
is now digging into potential barriers

that might exist to reporting overdoses,
Hu reports.
She says first responders have
expressed interest in data about trends
on emerging drugs, such as marijuana
and cocaine, so Biobot is now measuring for those as well.

involved building sensors to measure
naturally occurring chemicals in water.
Hu joined IEEE as a grad student because
of the discounted rates members receive
on conferences. She remains a member,
she says, because she finds that "IEEE
isn't just for electrical engineers; it's very
interdisciplinary. There's a conference for
everyone, and it's nice to have this proAfter graduating from Princeton with fessional community."
a degree in electrical engineering,
A friend who works at Biobot persuaded
Hu spent a few years working for a her to join the startup. The company,
financial consulting company. She which was founded by two MIT graduate
decided to pursue a graduate degree in students, has almost a dozen employees.
environmental engineering. "I wanted to "It was a really good fit for me," Hu says.
do something that helped the world," she -K.P.
says, "and pursue a cause I believed in."
This article originally appeared online as
She earned a Ph.D. in environmental "Combating the Opioid Crisis, One Flush
engineering from MIT. Her research thesis at a Time."

in the  Guide to the Software Engineering
Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK), maintained
by the IEEE Computer Society. Software
engineering curricula are often based on

SWEBOK. He presented his findings at
this year's IEEE Conference on Software
Engineering Education & Training.
"SWEBOK illuminates the development
of software from its initial phase to product deployment, with a lot of emphasis
on software processing and analysis,"
Devadiga says. "While this knowledge is
useful, it's slowly being phased out from
technology-oriented, fast-paced, Internetscale companies. The technology used by
these companies is data-intensive and
much different from what has been taught
in universities over the last 20 years."
Devadiga experienced this issue in 2016
when he joined Datarista, a seed-stage
software company in Providence, R.I., for
sales and marketing data providers. He
was its first engineering hire and helped
lead the development of its innovative
data-as-a-service platform. As principal
engineer, Devadiga leads several critical
projects and is part of the hiring committee. Before joining the startup, he worked
for MathWorks, where he led, managed,
and designed projects from their inception.

"At MathWorks, I understood a lot of
their engineering processes and patterns," Devadiga says. "I worked on
teams of different sizes. Then I joined
a startup; it's different because there's
a lot more responsibility. There isn't a
foundation you can build on because
you are the person laying the groundwork for the company.
"In my transition from working for a
major organization to an extremely young
startup, I saw the requirements to grow
the business-which inspired me to help
improve the engineering curriculum to
better cater to students and startups."

Engineers at startups can wear many
hats. They might do market research
and contribute to new product ideas,
define and design system architecture,
and handle development operations.
Engineers at established companies
mostly work within their specialty areas.
And if new hires need training on the
company's system, employers provide it.


DEC 2019



The Institute - December 2019

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