I’m A VB: Michael Parker

Website: www.ece.rutgers.edu/~maparker

·        How long have you been using VB?

I have used VB since2003 for scientific applications in the laboratory. Up until about 1994, I had primarily used the ‘structured languages’ (and assemly) and decided it was time for an update after a 10 year hiatus.


·        What industry do you work in?

The education related areas for the engineering/physics of optoelectronics, device fabrication, and quantum devices/processes for optical computing and communication.


·        How big is your development team?

Mostly one (me) but can involve three or four as appropriate for a university setting.


·        What kind of apps do you most commonly build?

Scientific and simulation which can involve a fair amount of graphics. Some applications simply control commercial laboratory equipment (such as data transfer), while others form the core processing software for the laboratory equipment we design, construct and test. We also write VB code to design optical beam shapers, and explore the use of quantum signals to carry information (the signal is encoded within the noise of the optical beam).


·        What’s the most interesting app you’ve ever built?

Prototype software for our ‘holographic’ thickness measurement unit. We image a semiconductor wafer surface onto a CCD array and monitor the wafer thickness, surface roughness and any surface layers during clean room fabrication processes. The software provides extracts the information, provides information for each point on the surface while also giving us a visual image on the display. The term ‘holographic’ refers to the use of optical phase between a reference plane and the wafer surface.


·        Please tell us about an app that you’re working on at the moment.

Have spent some time improving my knowledge of the framework functionality by investigating the noise associated with a bitmap image and the related area of steganography.


·        What other technologies do you most commonly use?

At present, the ‘other’ technology would refer to C or Basic compilers for microcontrollers, or to hardware such as semiconductor lasers and optical components.


·        What are some of your favorite VB features?

The whole experience is quite enjoyable from the easy drag-drop to the Intelisense.


·        What do you like most about VB as a programming language?

Everything is integrated. I like the english and sensible symbols for logical operators. In fact, I originally used basic (the old basic) because people could easily read it without a great deal of programming experience; however, it wasn’t very well managed. Today VB has much of the same ‘feel’ but all grown up with full OOP (object oriented programming).


For other interviews in this series, please visit http://imavb.net.