San Jose State University : Site Name

Navigation

Main Content

Working in Mars Mission Control, JPL

Ronald Mak

Department of Computer Science
Department of Applied Data Science
Spring Semester 2023

Office hours: MW 4:30 – 5:30 PM Clark Hall CL 325
Office location: Clark Hall CL 325 (mostly working from home)
E-mail: ron.mak@sjsu.edu
Mission Control, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
NASA Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Click on the classes I'm teaching this semester:



Look below to access classes I've recently taught.


Who am I?


Student internships at NASA Ames. I am the Principal Investigator (P.I.) for a subcontracting agreement between KBR/NASA and the San Jose State University Research Foundation to hire student interns for NASA Ames. I post open internship and fulltime positions.

Fusion energy research. The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently made a major scientific breakthrough -- more energy output from the system than energy put into it! I was the Enterprise Software Strategist for the project, where I helped design and develop a workflow system to consolidate and manage the scientific data generated by the laser firings.

Orion spacecraft. As a Senior Computer Scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center, I wrote software for the new Orion spacecraft that recently successfully launched, orbited the moon, and returned safely to Earth. It will soon take astronauts back to the moon and later to Mars.

Mars rovers. As a Senior Scientist at the Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science (RIACS) at NASA Ames, I designed and led the development of the middleware for a key information management system for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission. I received several key NASA awards, including Space Act Board and Turning Goals into Reality. A documentary about the Opportunity rover: "Good Night Oppy"

CubeSats. As a Senior Computer Scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center, I designed and managed the building of the Spacecraft System Integration Laboratory (SSIL) for the simulation of CubeSats orbiting in cluster formations and performing scatter-gather maneuvers. We installed Emulab locally in order to dynamically provision users with advanced graphics servers and up to 400 virtual machines in arbitrary user-specified network configurations.

Silicon Valley. I was a consulting Data Scientist at Mediar, a data analytics startup. As a Research Staff Member at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, I helped implement the Splash software platform that integrated multiple heterogeneous simulation, statistical, and data models in order to research the nation's obesity problem. I've been a software developer, project lead, and engineering manager at high-tech companies such as Hewlett-Packard (the HP 300 system; HP 2000 Pascal compiler; HP 9000 FORTRAN compiler), Sun Microsystems (Sun Common Lisp; the NeWS Toolkit), and Apple Computer Company (the Newton PDA).

U.S. patents. I am an inventor on twelve U.S. patents.
The first four are for innovative web techniques at an early Internet startup:
US-20020103831-A1    US-20020116419-A1    US-6446098-B1    US-6569208-B2
The most recent eight are for advanced data analytics at IBM Research:
US-20140214763-A1    US-20140214762-A1    US-20140214383-A1    US-20140214382-A1
US-9524326-B2    US-9607067-B2    US-9805145-B2    US-9805143-B2

Books. I've written books on compiler writing, software engineering, and numerical computation that have been translated into several languages. I coauthored the chapter "Compilers and Interpreters" in Computing Handbook, 3rd ed., and I wrote the chapter "A Highly Reliable Enterprise System for NASA's Mars Rover Mission" in Beautiful Code which won the Jolt Award. My Erdös number is 5.

I have invited and hosted pioneers in computer science and in the computer industry, including several Turing Award winners, to give weekly talks at SJSU. I was interviewed for the CCTV documentary "Internet Era".

I have taught software classes at Stanford University and at Santa Clara University, and I had a faculty appointment at the University of California at Santa Cruz. I have degrees in the Mathematical Sciences and in Computer Science from Stanford, where two of my physics professors each had a Nobel Prize. I am a Stanford Computing Pioneer.

Despite having done work that involved the relative motions of planets and calculations and the Einstein's Theory of Relativity, I'm still amazed that the sun comes up each morning and that bicycles don't tip over. I find designing and developing software such as compilers and enterprise systems to be fun and challenging. So I'm the kind of geek nobody wants to talk to at parties. My one redeeming feature is that I am owned by cute cats.


Classes I've recently taught at SJSU

DATA 220: Mathematical Models for Data Analysis
CS 46B: Introduction to Data Structures
CS 144: Advanced C++ Programming
CS 146: Data Structures and Algorithms
CS 151: Object-Oriented Design (Java)
CS 152: Programming Language Paradigms
CS 153: Concepts of Compiler Design (Java and ANTLR)
CS 154: Formal Languages and Computability
CS 160: Software Engineering
CS 174: Server-Side Web Programming
CS 185C/CS 286: The History of Computing
CS 235: User Interface Design
Please visit: CS 235 Data Visualization Projects
The History of Computing Speaker Series
Please visit: Recorded talks online
MISA Workshop: Relational Databases and SQL Programming
Please visit: Introduction to SQL Queries
CMPE 131: Software Engineering I
CMPE 135: Object-Oriented Analysis and Design (C++)
CMPE 142: Operating Systems
CMPE 152: Compiler Design (C++ and ANTLR)
CMPE 180A: Data Structures and Algorithms in C++
CMPE 280: Web UI Design and Development
DATAApplied Data Science
CSComputer Science
MISAManagement Information Systems Association
CMPEComputer Engineering