During Fall Break week 2015, Princeton University hosted a computer programming "bootcamp" to promote shared learning between academia and industry in a growing area of software development. The event, co-sponsored by Princeton's Office of Corporate Engagement and networking company Cisco, brought students from Princeton and other area universities together with industry professionals for a week of classes and coding in OpenDaylight (ODL), one of several open-source platforms with broad industry applications.
Industry participants came from AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Cisco, and students attended from Princeton, Columbia, Boston University, Rutgers, and Cornell, all for the opportunity to learn and work collaboratively at the leading edge of the field. The week consisted of lectures and labs, followed by a multi-day "hackathon" in which participants teamed up to develop applications that addressed real-world opportunities in ODL.
The winning team in the Hackathon included Princeton masters student Kevin Boutarel, who worked with three teammates from Cisco and Verizon to demonstrate ODL capabilities for programmatic control of network data flows. "It was a very fast pace but I was able to ask a lot of questions to the people around me," said Kevin. "This event was a great way to meet industry professionals in an informal way."
"We all brought our best coders and architects, our brightest ideas, and our biggest problems; and we tackled them together," said Kristen Wright, Director, Cisco Research & Open Innovation. "Couple that with some of academia's brightest young minds--and magic happens."
Added Boutarel, "The learning experience is something you won't see anywhere else. You learn, not only from great teachers, but from the professionals that dedicate their career to the topic. Plus, if you win, you get a drone and who doesn't like a drone?"
In addition to the practical experience and chance to meet potential future employers, students have the satisfaction of knowing their ODL projects see the light of day; Cisco expects several of the projects to land in the open source community.