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IEEE Virginia Mountain Section

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Thursday, November 21, 2013 in Roanoke.

An Introduction to the Python Programming Language

Dr. Brad Davis
General Dynamics Corp, Marion VA

Abstract: Historically, general programming languages such as FORTRAN and C/C++ have been widely used to produce custom engineering tools across technical disciplines. But my recent experience shows that these appear to be viewed by new graduates as archaic or inconvenient if they have been used at all. On the other hand, new graduates are well schooled in high level tools such as MATLAB® and interface tools such as LabView® which seem to have replaced more general coding in undergraduate and graduate curricula.

These high level tools are often available to the graduating engineer in their new job, but this is not always the case. For small companies, a high price tag comes with these tools and it can be prohibitive. As a practicing engineer and a manager of recent graduates and interns, I have found that a middle-ground was needed. One alternative is the Python programming language. Python has gained underground popularity over the past several years with major visibility in projects offered by NASA and Los Alamos National Labs. The language is platform independent running on Linux, Microsoft Windows, or MAC OS with very little ‘tweaking.’ In this talk I will introduce the Python language and some of its advantages.

Dr. Davis’ expertise lies in design, construction and modeling of passive and active electromagnetic systems. His background includes industrial experience in electromagnetic wave propagation, diffraction and scattering, the design and development of antennas, radar systems, sensor systems, and power systems.

He is a graduate of Virginia Tech, and is currently with General Dynamics in Marion, VA where he works in the areas of electromagnetic applications and simulations. Dr. Davis was previously employed by NanoSonic, Inc., Virginia Tech, Central Maine Power, Westinghouse Defense Electronics (Northrop-Grumman) and GTE. He also holds a Professional Engineer’s license and has published over 40 journal and conference papers.

Meeting Details:
Thursday November 21, 2013
Social: 6:30 PM
Dinner: 7:00 PM
Talk: 8:00 PM
Members & Guests $20.00, Students $10.00

Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions (vegetarian, dairy or gluten allergy, etc)

Holiday Inn – Roanoke

3315 Ordway Drive NW
Roanoke, VA 24017

Directions to Holiday Inn – Roanoke:

From I-581, take exit 3W Hershberger Rd. Turn right at the first traffic light (near WDBJ-7 TV studios and Zaxby’s Chicken) onto Ordway Drive. Continue past Big Lots and the Holiday Inn is on the right.

RSVP by 5 PM, Monday, November 18, 2013.
Please specify the number of attendees and any dietary needs/restrictions

Joe Hartwell,

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The Virginia Mountain Section (VMS) of the IEEE has been serving members in the Southwest corner of the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1949.

We currently have two Student Branches in local universities and colleges:

  • Virginia Military Institute
  • Virginia Tech

and the VMS Consultants Network Affinity Group

The purpose of this Affinity Group is to share information concerning consulting opportunities, and to make a list of consultants and their areas of expertise available to potential employers.

Anyone wishing to be added to this group, or desiring more information should contact David Livingston,

Information about our Section, the Chapters, and material of interest to our members may be found by selecting items in the left column of this page.

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(last modified: November 23, 2013 )