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July 20, 2021 - No Comments!

IEEE conference accepts paper co-authored by Phase Change scientists

July 20, 2021

by Todd Erickson

The International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME) 2021 accepted a technical paper authored by current and former Phase Change research scientists for presentation at its 37th annual event in Luxembourg City, Great Duchy of Luxembourg, September 27 - October 1.

The paper, "Contemporary COBOL: Developers' Perspectives on Defects and Defect Location," was co-authored by current Phase Change Senior Research Scientist Rahul Pandita, former Senior Research Scientist Aleksander Chakarov, and former intern Agnieszka Ciborowska.

The authors' goal is to direct the attention of researchers and practitioners towards investigating and addressing challenges associated with mainframe software development. More specifically, they present results from surveys of COBOL and more modern programming languages regarding defects and defect-location strategies. Software development has made substantial advances in software maintenance for modern programming languages but mainframe programming languages receive limited attention.

Meanwhile, mainframe systems are facing a critical shortage of experienced developers as the current generation retires. Without extensive mainframe and application-specific experience, replacement developers face significant difficulties, even during routine maintenance tasks such as code comprehension and defect location.

ICSME is an annual event sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to present, discuss, and debate the most recent ideas, experiences, and challenges in software maintenance and evolution. This year's conference will be a virtual event.

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

June 3, 2021 - No Comments!

AI rises to the challenge with COBOL

June 3, 2021

by Todd Erickson

A May 28 article published by TechRadar pro, and written by Phase Change President Steve Brothers, explains how the well-reported "COBOL skills shortage" is not really a fundamental problem for enterprises that rely on mainframe systems. The real challenge is application knowledge. Developers can learn COBOL in less than 6 months. What they can't learn quickly is specific application knowledge because that knowledge comes from experience.

Steve also describes how AI tools that assist developers in identifying and locating code responsible for specific behavior will help them reveal the application's intent and expose code that requires change. The developers will learn the application through task completion while remaining productive for the organization.

Click here to read the full article on TechRadar pro.

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

May 24, 2021 - No Comments!

Phase Change granted Israeli patent

May 24, 2021

By Todd Erickson

In late April, Phase Change added the first international patent to our growing intellectual property (IP) portfolio when Israel approved our patent application for Machine-Based Instruction Editing technology. The Israeli patent is the company's fifth patent award since May 2019.

Machine-Based Instructional Editing, which is now patent protected in the U.S. and Israel, is a foundational technology for COBOL Colleague, our forthcoming initial market product entry, which automates the identification of specific lines of source code related to targeted application behaviors.

Phase Change currently has over a dozen 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.

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.