Wednesday, June 10, 2015

2015-06-10: Autonomy Incubator Bids Farewell to Charles Cross

Today marks a bittersweet occasion for the Autonomy Incubator (AI) team as one of its founding members, Charles Cross, departs from Langley to pursue new opportunities.  Charles, the lead software engineer responsible for archtecting the Incubator's Autonomous Entity Operations Network (AEON), will be taking a position at the start-up OpenROV in Berkley, California.

During his sixteen-month tenure with the Autonomy Incubator, Charles focused on designing a core development framework that could connect PI-developed capabilties across platforms and programming languages.  With AEON, researchers can write applications that can connect to and communicate with other applications within the lab right from the start, which allows for easier collaboration. By design of the AI hiring strategy, Charles comes from not an aerospace, but a gaming background, and a deeply entrenched one at that.

"I've been programming since I was nine," he said. According to him, his years of experience designing games was crucial to his process when he was designing—and re-designing— AEON, because both involve a focus on communication between machines.

Charles also focused some of his time at the AI on educating the team, especially interns, on good programming practices.  Here he is teaching the summer 2015 interns how to use DDSTM to create an application within our framework yesterday:

While everyone at the Autonomy Incubator will miss him, Charles is moving on to some exciting mission applications. At OpenROV, he'll continue to do similar work to what he's done here, but with underwater vehicles instead of UAVs and rovers.  In addition, he plans on doing community outreach with the company to make underwater tele-exploration "accessible to pretty much everyone," he said.

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