Cyber-Physical Systems Experience for the Connected World
Aurobindo Samantaray, ME’21, cyber-physical systems, joined the Northeastern community in January 2020. He came to Northeastern for its co-op program, bringing with him professional experience in embedded systems by working with large companies in the automotive industry—build automation. Samantaray worked on various software and products that have lifesaving capabilities such as airbags and occupant classification systems, which require adhering to industrial safety standards for software development in a real-time environment.
Samantaray selected Northeastern University as he believes it will help him accelerate his career path and enable him to work with innovative organizations. “Northeastern faculty are dedicated in supporting students to polish their technical and social skills; the co-op program helps in gaining industrial exposure, which gives the confidence to take up challenges in a professional setting,” says Samantaray.
Given his undergraduate degree is in electronics and his five years of professional experience in hardware software interfacing, he found the Master of Science in Cyber-Physical Systems with a concentration in the Internet of Things interesting. Program Director Peter O’Reilly and Professor Rolando Herrero explained the course approach and the selection of courses offered. With the recent boom in low-powered and high-performance chips and sensors, most equipment that was purely mechanical such as car brakes has become more about sensing, processing, and actuation. In a matter of months, Aurobindo was taking ENCP6000 Career Management for Engineers with Professor Carrie Klaphake and actively searching for a co-op where he could apply his newly gained knowledge and the latest technology in a professional environment. Ultimately, he chose Emphysys – A Paramit Company based in Woburn, Massachusetts.
As an Embedded Systems Engineer Co-op at Emphysys, Samantaray’s motivation and self-directedness is allowing him to accomplish various projects. His work primarily involves collaborating with engineers to aid in the development and prototyping of surgical equipment. Programming FPGAs for digital signal processing, device driver development on real-time operating systems, and developing scrips to streamline the synthesis process across multiple tools are some of his major responsibilities at the organization. Through his programming and hardware acceleration, Samantaray is improving the performance and reliability of life-changing medical equipment. In the past four months, the most important skill he learned at Emphysys is first principle thinking. “Some of the work I am tasked with requires a level of reverse engineering to understand the existing architecture and porting them on to a new one. Breaking the task down into what I already know vs. my assumptions and working on those assumptions to establish the truth is one way to tackle a task that you don’t know a lot about. I am trying to get better at this as I progress in my career,” he explains.
The MS in Cyber Physical Systems program prepares graduates for a world of connected devices. It is designed to meet the demand for a new kind of specialist, one who can engineer and develop new interactive services; acquire, fuse, and process the data collected from sensors, actuators, controllers, and other devices; and develop architectures to interconnect these elements as part of larger, more diverse systems. Classes that have helped Samantaray prepare for his co-op were Computer Architecture, Embedded System Design and Program Structure and Algorithms. Looking towards his future, Samantaray is eager to continue creating algorithms and programming chip sets—improving efficiency and accelerate computing on any product he so choses. He recognizes the value of working with a team to increase perspectives and a circle of support to challenge and support one another.