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April 9, 2021 - No Comments!

Phase Change President: Creative & focused AI needed to help COBOL skills shortage

The so-called "COBOL Skills Shortage" is compelling many organizations to impetuously hire and train programmers to maintain, support, and attempt to modernize their COBOL systems.
But understanding how to write COBOL is not enough — developers have to comprehend what an application actually does and how code changes can impact the system as a whole to avoid critical missteps. That work for those developers is cognitively difficult.

Phase Change President Steve Brothers recently wrote an article for Built In Colorado.com about how artificial intelligence (AI) can help solve the application knowledge gap problem, but only when traditional AI technology gets more creative and moves beyond understanding general business knowledge and instead learns specialized industry and institutional domain knowledge.

AI & software development

AI can help solve the application knowledge gap dilemma, but popular contemporary AI approaches are insufficient. Some AI tools can help with the syntax of writing code, but these remedies only provide incremental value.

Developers spend nearly 75 percent of their time finding the area in the source code in which they need to make a change because understanding code in these large complex systems is difficult and time-consuming.

AI will emerge as a paradigm-changing technology when it can understand code intent and “reimagine” computation into concepts, thereby doing what a developer does when they code — but at machine speed.

Read Steve’s entire Built In Colorado article at https://builtin.com/artificial-intelligence/cobol-skills-shortage.

March 10, 2021 - No Comments!

Phase Change announces management changes in anticipation of market entry

March 10, 2021

By Todd Erickson

Phase Change Software announced a number of executive changes in anticipation of bringing its first product, COBOL Colleague, to market.

Founder and Inventor Steve Bucuvalas is stepping away from his roles as CEO and Chairman of the Board to enable him to focus all of his attention on product development and innovation, including Phase Change’s planned second product, a Java version of the company’s revolutionary platform. Steve will continue to serve on the Board of Directors.

Former President and current Board Member Gary Brach has assumed the role of CEO and will be focused on bringing COBOL Colleague to market. Former COO Steve Brothers was appointed President and will continue to be responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations.

In addition to the executive changes, the Board of Directors also elected long-time Member Don Peskin as the Chairman of the Board.

Bios

Steve Bucuvalas founded Phase Change in 2005 and has held many titles over the years, including Founder, President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Steve is the Chief Inventor of Phase Change's software digitization. He brings over 40 years of experience to software productivity. Steve graduated from Harvard University in 1977 and began his software career the same year as a Bank of Boston assembly language programmer. He has led corporate advanced technology groups, specialized database management systems, and much more over the course of his career. Steve brings an interdisciplinary perspective to solving the software digitization problem. Steve currently resides in Bernalillo, New Mexico.

Gary Brach, CEO, joined Phase Change as President and Board Member in 2016. He is focused on introducing Phase Change to the market. In the software industry, Gary has over 25 years of experience primarily as a software entrepreneur in the storage and insurance industries. Gary studied at Brown University and received his MBA at the University of Chicago. Gary currently resides in Boston and is an avid tennis player.

Steve Brothers, President, joined Phase Change as the COO in 2018, bringing over 30 years of experience in technology-related organizations with leadership, technical and sales roles in industries such as financial services, healthcare and services. Previously, Steve held positions as CEO at Ajubeo and Executive Vice President and CIO for Urban Lending Solutions. Steve graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder and holds a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Information Systems. Steve is a proud father of two boys, is a mentor at Galvanize and resides in Golden, CO.

Don Peskin is the Chairman of the Phase Change Board of Directors. He has been a Phase Change Board Member since November 2007. Don has more than 25 years of Wall Street and investment experience, most notably as a Managing Director and Principal at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, which he left in 1997 to pursue private investment opportunities in finance, technology, and related industries. He is the Founder and President of Short Hills Capital LLC, a privately held investment company. In addition to his principal investment activities, Don is also a Managing Member of the real-estate development firm Chatham Hills Development LLC, and he recently served as a Managing Member of Cognitive Capital Management, which was the General Partner of the Cognitive Strategic Fund.

Todd Erickson is a Technology Writer with Phase Change. You can reach him at terickson@phasechange.ai.

January 22, 2021 - Comments Off on Phase Change executive quoted in ‘COBOL skills shortage’ article

Phase Change executive quoted in ‘COBOL skills shortage’ article

December 21, 2020

By Todd Erickson

Phase Change COO Steve Brothers was interviewed and quoted in a TechRadar Pro article published on December 18 about the 'COBOL skills shortage.' He shared his insights on how 'knowledge attrition' – an organization's declining application knowledge due to the departure of experienced software developers – was really the cause of government system failures during the COVID-19 pandemic, and why it remains a serious problem today.

Legacy applications and the COBOL skills shortage were widely blamed for government financial-aid system failures during the first few months of the Coronavirus pandemic. But the TechRadar Pro article revealed that the system failures were not a result of the lack of COBOL programmers. The problem was a severe shortage of legacy-application programmers that understand how these legendary applications work and what the source code does.

“In the COBOL space, you have millions of lines of active code and, to perform necessary maintenance, you need developers that understand what that code does," Brothers said. "But when you’re writing complex applications, code written in the morning becomes legacy by the afternoon.”

The story describes Phase Change's initial market product, COBOL Colleague, which is currently in beta testing and scheduled for release in Q2, and how it is designed to collaborate with developers new to legacy applications and make it easier for them to complete maintenance tasks without requiring experienced colleagues or subject matter experts.

Read more about the 'COBOL knowledge attrition problem' facing government and large financial systems in TechRadar Pro's December 18 article, "We're all at the mercy of this decades-old programming language, but we’ve been thinking about it all wrong."

Todd Erickson is a Technology Writer with Phase Change. You can reach him at terickson@phasechange.ai.

January 22, 2021 - Comments Off on Phase Change granted fourth U.S. patent

Phase Change granted fourth U.S. patent

December 16, 2020

By Todd Erickson

Phase Change was recently issued the fourth patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) related to its ground-breaking software-development technology. The company's first patent was granted in May 2019, and subsequent patents were issued in October and December of the same year. This fourth patent is scheduled to be issued on December 29, 2020.

The first patent is based on the consideration that one function or specification can be implemented in many different ways. This patent provides a method to automatically replace a snippet of code with another snippet of code if these are determined to be strictly equivalent. Using a logical analysis of the two functions, our tool can determine if they are equivalent or not. If they are equivalent, the snippet of code is automatically replaced by the new one, provided that it improves the overall program in some way.

Phase Change's second patent is built upon the first and focuses on improving readability and maintainability. This patent is based on the consideration that the source code of many programs today suffer from a lack of readability (e.g. spaghetti code including “GO TO” statements) and/or maintainability (e.g. legacy code). Using the same logical mechanism as the first patent, this invention will replace a snippet of code with another equivalent snippet of code that has been previously identified as better with respect to readability and/or maintainability.

The recent patent is also built upon the first patent and focuses on security considerations. It is based on the consideration that the source code of many programs today may not have sufficient security components to protect the applications from wrongful and intrusive attempts, such as hacking and piracy efforts. Using the same logical mechanism as the first patent, this invention will replace a snippet of code with another equivalent snippet of code that has been previously identified as better with respect to security.

Phase change was granted another foundational patent in December 2019. This invention normalizes the source code into a language-agnostic representation called Dependency-Ordered Behavior (DOB), a representation that doesn’t depend on the specificity of the programing language (e.g. Java, C, or COBOL), but solely on the behavior of the application. Once the source code is normalized, this tool can easily extract paths within the application and associate these paths with semantic names. Combinations of paths can also automatically create combinations of semantic names.

Phase Change currently has 13 active patent applications in four countries. For more information on Phase Change’s patent portfolio, email info@phasechange.ai.

Todd Erickson is a Technology Writer with Phase Change. You can reach him at terickson@phasechange.ai.

January 22, 2021 - Comments Off on Phase Change Colorado holiday gift guide

Phase Change Colorado holiday gift guide

December 16, 2020

By Todd Erickson

Due to the social restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, our annual company Holiday Party was in jeopardy of cancellation, including our "White Elephant Gift Exchange" that filled the party room with an afternoon of good-natured trash talk and humor.

So, as so many organizations and families have done this year, we adapted. We took the party online and swapped the White Elephant Gift Exchange for a "Steal the Card!" gift card exchange.

We also recognized the importance of supporting local businesses during this unsettled economic time by purchasing all of our employee-appreciation gifts and gift cards from Colorado merchants. We found a myriad of creative Colorado merchants with unequaled craftsmanship, and we decided to share our list in hopes that others would also support our Colorado neighbors and community members.

Let us know if you are interested in how we put together our Zoom holiday party and "Steal the Card!" online gift-card exchange.

Todd Erickson is a Technology Writer with Phase Change. You can reach him at terickson@phasechange.ai.

May 28, 2020 - Comments Off on Can AI solve the engineer shortage?

Can AI solve the engineer shortage?

May 30, 2020

by Todd Erickson

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed workforce shortages in a number of industries, including healthcare, food retail, and cybersecurity.

The related financial crisis and government financial assistance requests have also demonstrated a critical need for legacy system developers. The recent performance issues experienced by these financial assistance programs have exposed how dependent our financial and public infrastructure are on legacy and mainframe systems.

Phase Change COO Steve Brothers recently penned an article for ColoradoBiz Magazine about how the legacy application skills shortage threatens the software that underpins a great deal of the world's large financial and government systems.

He also talks about how artificial intelligence (AI) can be extremely effective in helping legacy application maintenance and development by introducing automation into the process, improving project management efficiencies, and by shortening the steep training curve typically experienced by developers new to these systems.

Learn more about how the improved productivity and efficiency AI brings to software development could be instrumental in maintaining and improving our critical legacy and mainframe systems.

Can AI solve the engineer shortage?
by Steve Brothers
ColoradoBiz magazine
May 15, 2020

Steve Brothers is the President of Phase Change Software. You can reach him on LinkedIn or at sbrothers@phasechange.ai.

Todd Erickson is a Technology Writer at Phase Change Software. You can reach him at terickson@phasechange.ai.

May 8, 2020 - Comments Off on Colorado Inno profile explains how AI agent improves developer productivity

Colorado Inno profile explains how AI agent improves developer productivity

May 8, 2020

by Todd Erickson

Colorado Inno.com Associate Editor Nick Greenhalgh recently interviewed Phase Change President Steve Brothers for a profile story titled, "Golden startup's AI aims to make developers more efficient," that explains how our technology operates as a subject-matter expert and will improve software-developer efficiency and productivity, especially for industries that rely on enterprise software.

Read more at ColoradoInno.com.

Todd Erickson is a Technology Writer at Phase Change Software. You can reach him at terickson@phasechange.ai.

February 11, 2019 - Comments Off on Phase Change CEO Steve Bucuvalas featured on the InfluenceNow! podcast

Phase Change CEO Steve Bucuvalas featured on the InfluenceNow! podcast

February 7, 2019

by Todd Erickson1

Phase Change’s Inventor, Founder, and CEO, Steve Bucuvalas, was featured in the January 31, 2019, episode of the InfluenceNow! podcast, hosted by Justin Craft2.

The InfluenceNow! podcast highlights startups, exceptional business influencers, and ideas from a variety of industries that influence the world.

Steve and Justin discussed how Phase Change and the technology behind Mia, the first cognitive agent for software development, became a reality.

The interview begins with Steve describing his career leading technology and artificial intelligence (AI) groups in financial services and insurance companies, and his subsequent entrepreneurial career starting and selling two different companies. He tells the story of how a single conversation with the buyer of his second company led to his interest in applying AI technology to the problem of software-development productivity.

At the closing, the buyer said to me, 'What's wrong with you guys in software? AI has changed financial services extraordinarily - increased our productivity 100 times,' which is accurate. 'Why can’t you do that with your own industry?'

That moment led Steve to research the barriers to applying AI to software development, and the development of the human-centric principles that led to the creation of the Mia cognitive agent.

The podcast continues with Steve and Justin discussing why organizations that rely on applications written in the Common Business-oriented Language (COBOL) programming language are Phase Change’s first target market.

COBOL is this 40-50 year-old language that has atrocious legacy problems. Because the code has been around [so long], it runs 85% of the world’s financial transactions and [there’s] 220 billion lines of [active COBOL] code. The programmers are all in their 60’s and they all want to retire, but they keep getting incentives to work a few more years because no one wants to learn COBOL. In fact, some of the kids in computer science [college courses] have never heard of it.

Justin and Steve conclude the interview discussing the productivity gains realized by Mia and Phase Change’s technology, and when it will be generally available.

To learn more about how Steve and Phase Change Software will radically improve software productivity, watch the podcast video below or listen to the audio podcast.


1Todd Erickson is a tech writer with Phase Change Software. You can reach him at terickson@phasechange.ai.
2Justin Craft is the Founder and CEO of Cast Influence, a Denver, Colorado,-based turnkey marketing agency. Phase Change Software is a client of Cast Influence.

December 27, 2018 - Comments Off on Sheilagh Park-Hatley joins Phase Change as Director of Software Quality Assurance

Sheilagh Park-Hatley joins Phase Change as Director of Software Quality Assurance

December 27, 2018

by Todd Erickson

Phase Change Software announced that Sheilagh Park-Hatley joined the company in September as the director of software quality assurance. She will focus on enhancing our software quality engineering.

“As a career-long user of code analysis tools, I’m excited about what Phase Change can do in that space, and limitless others,” Sheilagh said.

Prior to joining Phase Change, Sheilagh served as the vice president of technology and senior director of quality assurance for the Equifax Denver, Colo., office, where she led a technology team of business analysts, developers, and testers for the Property, Data, and Analytics Group.

Before her career at Equifax, she was the director of QA/Test for Intellireal LLC, a real-estate intelligence software solutions provider to the financial services industry. Intellireal was acquired by Equifax in August 2011.

Sheilagh trained in software testing under Ross Collard at the University of California at Berkeley and earned the designation of Certified Software Test Engineer from the International Software Quality Institute. She is a senior member of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) Software Division, a past board member of the Software Quality Association of Denver (SQuAD), and a contributing member ISO Subcommittee for Quality Systems that revamped the ISO 9001 standard in 2001

Sheilagh also studied creative writing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Todd Erickson is a tech writer with Phase Change Software. You can reach him at terickson@phasechange.ai.

December 19, 2018 - Comments Off on Phase Change unveils COBOL Colleague product website

Phase Change unveils COBOL Colleague product website

December 18, 2018

by Todd Erickson

Phase Change announces the launch of its initial product website – CodeCatalyst.ai. The website will support the company's market entry product, COBOL Colleague, the first cognitive tool for software development, by targeting organizations that rely on COBOL-based applications for critical business operations.

The CodeCatalyst.ai website details how COBOL Colleague will assist COBOL reliant organizations with their unique issues, such as a vanishing workforce, lost application knowledge, and lagging productivity.

COBOL Colleague reads-in the source code, extracts the embedded concepts, discovers the dependencies, reveals the buried knowledge, and becomes an expert that never tires and never leaves.

Natural-language-interaction enables developers and stakeholders with limited COBOL experience to collaborate with the cognitive agent and work productively with their COBOL applications.

Find bugs and dead code in seconds, not minutes or hours. Make changes with full knowledge of the downstream impact. Confidently add new features, products, and services. Empower anyone with a basic understanding of COBOL to interact and engage with your COBOL applications.

Everything you dreamed of in COBOL-based environments is now a reality. Visit CodeCatalyst.ai.

Todd Erickson is a tech writer with Phase Change Software. You can reach him at terickson@phasechange.ai.