Summer Programming Workshops

Following some conversations with colleagues and students (mainly from DT009/2), I’m planning to run a series of programming workshops over the summer. What I’m hoping to do is take a step back from the formally defined curriculum of our electrical engineering programmes and focus instead on some really practical example programs, each of which illustrates a solution that I see arising over and over again in real-world engineering work.

Some of you may have noticed that almost every time I write a new microcontroller program, I begin by grabbing some simple template code from my own blog and then just modifying it to suit the needs of the specific application. Similarly, as you may also have noticed, I find myself using the same state machine structure over and over again in my C programs. I think of these kind of simple starting points as “recipes” or “patterns” for programming. To be a confident problem solver in software systems, it really helps to have a good working palette of these kind of solutions that you can call upon at a moment’s notice. So basically, in this series of workshops, I would like to share some of the software “recipes” that I find most useful in the course of my engineering work, as well as one or two I’ll be borrowing from the likes of Richard Hayes and Damon Berry.

Here are some specific examples of the type of topics I’m thinking we might cover (in no particular order):

  • Firstly, review basics of C, Python, etc.
  • Useful design patterns for C, Python – e.g. state machine.
  • dsPIC microcontroller basics – registers, timers, interrupts, etc.
  • Real-time communication between microcontroller and PC.
  • Robotics programming – e.g. controlling servo and stepper motors.
  • Real-time signal processing (e.g. audio) on a microcontroller.
  • Graphical user interface (GUI) programming in Python.
  • Graphical program output (e.g. real-time graphs).
  • Simple 2D and 3D graphics using OpenGL.
  • Simple machine vision programming.

I’ve included a lot of things on that list that I see people making use of in final year projects, so I suppose this series of workshops might be of particular interest to those entering final year in September 2012. However, anyone that’s interested is welcome to attend.

The reason I’m writing this post now is that I still have to decide where and when to actually hold these workshops. Because many of the people to whom this is most relevant are likely to be working full-time during the summer months, I had originally thought about running the sessions on a weekday evening every couple of weeks. However, I had forgotten that Kevin St closes at 5 or 6pm during the summer, so that basically rules that out, unless an alternative venue can be identified. Alternatively, I could run an afternoon session once every couple of weeks. Another possibility that Michael Farrell suggested is to run an intensive workshop (e.g. over a couple of days) before lectures start in September. I could even run this as some sort of online course. Whenever it is that these sessions are scheduled, the time is definitely not going to suit everyone and even those who do attend are likely to miss some sessions due to holidays etc. I’ll therefore be trying to keep each session pretty self-contained. Also, I’ll be doing a blog post to accompany each session, documenting the example program covered in that session.

Anyway, I just wanted to outline what I have in mind in terms of content and then open up the discussion about what people are interested in covering and what suits best in terms of times and days. If you’re interested in taking part, please comment below with your preference regarding content and/or scheduling. Don’t be shy!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Summer Programming Workshops

  1. eamosfennell says:

    Sounds good.. I should be free for almost any time you want to run the classes..

  2. says:

    That sounds great Ted. If you could have it in the evenings that would be good as I work full-time. Thanks.

  3. brian sweeney says:

    im interested but all depends on when. start od september before lectures start suits me

  4. Mikey Ward says:

    Im definately up for it, and i should be free most of the time. any content would be a great help leading into third year.

  5. Yea, count me in Ted. Whatever topics you think are revelant is good. I should be around most of the time apart from the start of september.

  6. Keith Grehan says:

    I’d be interested anyway cheers

  7. Alan Flynn says:

    i am definitely interested ted but not back in the country until the last week in august so if you could have it the start of September would be great cheers

  8. David Bannigan says:

    Thanks ted, ye I’ll be very interested if in September as I’m working full time for the summer

  9. Barry Robb says:

    Sounds good Ted, I would be interested, will be tied up until the end of August with work so the start of September would be good.

  10. Sorry about the late reply, just seeing the Facebook link.. Put me down Ted.. Cheers.

  11. scolog says:

    any word yet on when it will be starting?

  12. batchloaf says:

    Thanks everyone for your interest and your input. I’m still not quite sure what format will work best, but what I’m veering towards is running a few afternoon sessions, each of which will be based on a blog post tutorial which will be available in advance. Those who are available to attend the sessions can do so and those who can’t (e.g. due to work commitments) can at least see what they missed. If there’s sufficient interest from people who couldn’t attend a particular session, I suppose we could consider re-running it later on (e.g. in September).

    I’ll be going on my holidays in a couple of days, so I won’t be posting anything more about it until the week after next. Hopefully, I’ll get the first tutorial blog post up some day that week (that’s the week: Mon 16th July – Friday 20th July) and probably set a date for the first live session the week after that.

  13. scolog says:

    great Ted. enjoy the holidays..

  14. scolog says:

    anymore news on whats happening?

  15. mike ward says:

    il be there next wednesday ted cheers

  16. Colin boyce says:

    Yeah count me in Ted!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s