I once saw a job ad in a national newspaper which said: "If you can read this send your CV here."
The numbers actually read "Happy Pi Day!" in ASCII HEX. With one smart move they probably whittled out a lot of poor candidates at the very first stage.
So today is Pi Day, thanks to the American date format of 3/14. It is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant Pi. We celebrate this day in a world where there is an ever-increasing adoption of technology, yet – counter-intuitively - society as a whole is now less able to understand and use it than at any time in history.
The US Department of Education recently quantified this with its survey showing that of the 28% of high-school freshmen who declared an interest in science and mathematics, 57% of these lost interest by the time they graduated.
With these figures reflecting those found globally, the shortage of skilled scientists and mathematicians is forecast to increase dramatically at exactly the same time as the demand for their skills are needed.
To tackle this, education establishments have circled around STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - in an interdisciplinary and applied approach based on real-world applications.
As an engineer at heart, I am delighted that my two school-age daughters and their friends are excited about this practical STEM approach, having already spent many years experimenting on development platforms like the micro:bit and Raspberry Pi.
But STEM education isn’t just needed for those in school, high school and university; it is also needed for the professionals in the workforce. Fortunately there is an abundance of readily available technology, so the barriers to practical experimentation have fallen substantially. With development platforms like Raspberry Pi delivering over 2,000 times more compute power than that used to land Apollo 11 on the moon - for less than $50 USD - development platforms have never been more affordable.
Software AG follows two complimentary approaches to tackling the STEM skills challenge. One: Making our products and services self-service so anyone can build solutions in minutes. And two, by providing tools, frameworks and programs to incubate these expert skills.
Within the exciting Internet of Things domain there are two notable streams to our STEM upskilling activities:
Cumulocity IoT Thin Edge on Raspberry Pi
Our Thin Edge is a modular structure which combines a range of capabilities for resource restricted devices, like the Raspberry Pi. The combination of the open extensible Cumulocity IoT device agent and Apama Community Edition streaming analytics engine, provides a powerful foundation for edge computing experimentation. Our capabilities are now being extended with community editions of our Zementis machine learning portfolio.
University Relations Education Packages
Software AG provides a comprehensive range of education packages for streaming analytics, integration, mobile apps and business processes, which bundle free software with e-learning, video tutorials and other training materials. Our Cumulocity IoT education package is currently in beta, and is being used by select education establishments (watch this space).
So on Pi Day let’s celebrate the mathematicians and scientists who have designed the world we live in today. And join us in supporting the rest of us as we improve our STEM skills to better solve the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and business problems we will face tomorrow.