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Q: pointers to consultants on commercial software library design ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: pointers to consultants on commercial software library design
Category: Computers > Software
Asked by: daviddlewis2-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 07 Jan 2004 07:54 PST
Expires: 06 Feb 2004 07:54 PST
Question ID: 294018
I'd like pointers to two or more individual consultants or small
consulting firms with expertise in the design of software libraries.

Software libraries contain units of software that perform some
specialized function and are meant to be incorporated into software
developed by other programmers.  Libraries written in object-oriented
programming languages are often called "class libraries" or "object
lbraries". Examples of companies that sell libraries are NAG
(Numerical Algorithms Group) and Roguewave.

I'm particularly interested in consultants who have worked on
libraries that are sold commercially, though expertise with libraries
produced in universities or government is not irrelevant if the
consultant also has experience with design of commercial software.
Also of extra interest is experience with software for these
particular areas: text processing, statistics, machine learning, data
mining, numerical computation.

Clarification of Question by daviddlewis2-ga on 08 Jan 2004 06:33 PST
I don't quite understand the comment from meeaooow-ga, but there's
nothing particularly sensitive about this question - I'm just looking
for someone to do a bit of web searching.

I've raised price to $25, and will raise price to $50 (my maximum for
this question) on Saturday 9-Jan-04, if question hasn't been answered
by then.

Clarification of Question by daviddlewis2-ga on 08 Jan 2004 06:34 PST
Whoops, that's Saturday, *10*-Jan-04. -D.

Request for Question Clarification by mathtalk-ga on 08 Jan 2004 07:59 PST
Hi, daviddlewis2-ga:

I'm wondering if the expertise you are looking for is more on
implementation or on interface design issues.

You mention both procedural (NAG) and object-oriented (Roguewave)
examples, so I'm wondering if you are seeking consultants with
experience in both domains, or simply open to a variety of
possibilities.  A phrase that might be pertinent to your goal is
"component library".

I'd be glad to provide some pointers, though I'd have to disclaim any
"recommendation" of one provider or another.

regards, mathtalk-ga

Clarification of Question by daviddlewis2-ga on 08 Jan 2004 09:16 PST
I'm most interested in expertise in the API of the library (or the
equivalent to the API for components - I'm not sure what the right
jargon is) and its overall design.  But the consultant should
certainly have experience actually implementing libraries/components.

Ideally, a consultant would have experience with both libraries and
components.  Second best would be one consultant with experience in
one, and one with experience in the other.
Subject: Re: pointers to consultants on commercial software library design
Answered By: mathtalk-ga on 10 Jan 2004 15:34 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi, daviddlewis2-ga:

From your software examples (NAG, Rougewave) and list of subject areas
(text processing, statistics, machine learning, data mining, numerical
computation) I have the impression that your focus is on backend
analytical software, rather than on (say) hardware API or user
interface software.  (Perhaps I'm projecting!)

Here are some sites which promote individuals and smaller firms that
claim expertise in those areas with software library interface design
and/or implementation experience.  I didn't put any geographic
limitations on my search, so let me know if the model taken by most of
these firms and individuals, collaborating across the Internet,
presents an obstacle.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[Data Shaping Solutions]

"Data Shaping Solutions, LLC, specializes in managing complex
statistical problems and shaping data into actionable conclusions."

This consulting firm is headed by Vincent Granville, Ph.D, who has
worked in both industry and academia and has a strong background in
analytical software design with applications to statistics and data
mining.  Through Data Shaping he offers products and services in the
areas of stock forecasting/simulation, Web crawling and site
statistics, cryptography, and statistical consulting.  He also posts
for recruiters in related analytical jobs.  Currently he is focusing
on a new multivariate regression analysis package written in Perl.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


"Amzi! specializes in software, services and support for efficiently
developing, maintaining and deploying knowledge that is best expressed
as logical relationships."

This firm's two founders are Dennis Merritt and Mary Kroening.  While
offering as products some reasoning engines suitable for Web-based and
desktop applications, they also provide consulting services.  Their
own software must frequently be interfaced to Java, C++, .Net, COM and
Delphi environments, so they have strong expertise in the API design
area.  The Amzi! Prolog engine, which is referred to as a Logic Server
when used as a backend rather than interactively, is useful for
solving combinatorial problems such as a tournament schedule, supports
arbitrary precision arithmetic, and is often a language of choice for
natural language and other parsing problems.  Currently their focus on
a new IDE which leverages the Eclipse open source plug-in framework.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


A one-man software consultancy formed by Michael D. Crawford,
"GoingWare, Inc. seeks direct consulting clients who require custom
software development. Services are provided for clients worldwide."

Mike was a Macinstosh OS7 debugger in a former "life" and now
advocates for Linux and cross-platform development strategies.  He's
taught numerical analysis, etc. in the past, so presumably his math
skills are good, and he's contributed a note as the first article on
his cross-platform site:

For some reason his resume page is not nearly as visually neat as some
others at his site, so obviously he's more of a backend developer! 
Read his "Products Shipped" page in connection with his resume to get
a better idea of this fellow's breadth.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[Curriculum Vitae for Gino J.A. van den Bergen]

He developed a collision detection library in 3D, which actually
involves some tricky performance issues.  Gino has been a helpful
participant in Usenet newsgroups and is apparently working here:

and is the author of this book:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[Curriculum Vitae - Ole Møller Nielsen]

"Designed and developed an open software library for data mining of
large relational databases using the scripting language Python."  He's
also worked with finite element methods, wavelets, risk modelling and
other scientific computing projects.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[Resume for Jim Mathies - Software Consultant]

Seems to have done a fair amount of implementation work on libraries,
esp. for remote software updates, mostly on a Windows platform.  Jim
wrote the C portion of the IDN SDK:

at Verisign where he's apparently employed.

Additional Links of Interest

I'm not sure what scale of project you are undertaking and this is a
bit off-topic in any case, but I found this article rather interesting
as a critique of rapid development strategies, a paper by Wagner and
Wolstenholme presented at an IEEE conference in Huntsville, AL last

[Modeling and Building Reliable, Re-useable Software]

The first named author, Dr. Ferdinand Wagner, is a principle of State
Works, and apparently the inventor the VFSM (Virtual Finite State
Machine) philosophy that has guided their tool development:

Search Strategy and Disclaimer

Although my search was in part done using Keywords and Google (partly
aided by the clustering of results through, it also
partly guided by my own experiences as a practitioner in the field. 
None of the entities above know who I am as Google Answers Researcher,
and although I knew about half of them through some sort of positive
interaction in the past, I don't know enough about your project
requirements to make an informed recommendation even if I were allowed

Also, I have no financial interest or arrangement with any of the
individuals or firms named.

Keywords:  2003 software library design consultant analytical OR numerical

with many variation of quoting pairs of words, like "software library"
or "design consultant".

As a final note it seemed to me that Google's efforts to limit schemes
that "game" the outcomes of their page-ranking algorithm may hinder
slightly the sorts of searches undertaken here.  Commercial sites for
small consulting firms may have difficulty obtaining outside links
when they have little "content" to offer other than the
self-promotional message (which is of course what I was looking for
here), and even resumes of individuals tend to get lost in a sea of
conference announcements, etc.  For this reason you might want to try
the same clustering site that I did on some of these searches, which
helps to cut through some of the clutter by "outlining" similar hits
aggregated from multiple search engines:

[Vivísimo Document Clustering]


Request for Answer Clarification by daviddlewis2-ga on 11 Jan 2004 11:10 PST
> I have the impression that your focus is on 
> backend analytical software,


> let me know if the model taken by most of
> these firms and individuals, collaborating 
> across the Internet, presents an obstacle.

Not necessarily, though if I was writing the question again I probably
would express some preference for the US, just for the knowledge and
contacts the person would have vis-a-vis US software firms.  I also
would have stressed background in C/C++, and that the person be
currently available for consulting.

Of the suggestions you made, the Crawford one is by far the best.  

The emphasis of datashaping is on statistical consulting rather than
software development, and no C/C++ of Java experience.

Amzi seems to mostly work with their own tool - I don't seem evidence
of building/designing software for other people.

van den Bergen has good, if somewhat narrow experience, but seem to
have a full time job.

Nielsen good technically, but no commercial experience.

Mathies is quite good,but seems to have a full time job he's taking seriously.

Feedback is mostly FYI - I'm willing to call this done and give a
rating (4 *'s), though if you had any other ideas you didn't mention
yet, feel free to do so.


Clarification of Answer by mathtalk-ga on 11 Jan 2004 11:52 PST
Thanks for the feedback.  I was dithering on whether to do add'l
rounds of Clarification or put an Answer out in "haste".  Let me have
24 hours to use the refined information, esp. C/C++ focus and US
contacts, as a filter.  As you can probably see, my own ranking of the
"candidates" was quite different from yours.

It will still be a bit of a guess about availability, absent
parameters of cost and time, and I have no wish to intrude on that

regards, mt

Clarification of Answer by mathtalk-ga on 11 Jan 2004 23:52 PST
Hi, Dave:

Based on your feedback I located three additional resumés of "solo"
practitioners for your consideration:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[Alexey Pismenny -- Resume]

"Objective: Opportunity to utilize expertise in software design and
development on a job that demands creativity and independent thinking.
Project leader and team player. Will consider long or short term
contracting or consulting."

Background in mathematics, lives in northeast US.

He works through two "sofware design... and consulting" firms, one
specializing in Unix, the other (his own) in Windows.  He lists C/C++
and Java in his skills and cites several Windows component/library
development projects, though it's hard to discern which became
commercially available.  His Unix work seems to tie into projects
listed here:

[Meetinghouse Data Communications - Consulting Services]

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[David N. Junod -- Resume]

"A well-rounded, talented, self-motivated leader with a long and
consistent history of delivering a wide range of marketable products."

"Objective: Partnership or contract software technical position with
leading edge companies."

Has worked on vertical-market applications in the banking industry and
for medical institutions, lives in southeast US.

Lists C, C++, C#, and Java among his programming languages and also
names a number of projects involving API design & implementation for
clients ranging from Microsoft down to "short-lived" startups.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[Gary J. Hardy -- Resume]

"To obtain a challenging hands-on development or architectural
position in software engineering using current technologies including
enterprise and network components. Major interest in building great
products, working in team environment and delivering effective
technologies for business solutions."

Has worked with a number of clients and platforms/environments.  Lives
in southwest US.

Java, C, and C++ lead his list of programming languages.  Recent
projects involve financial applications (online auction/inventory
management) and document content services.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I'd like to explain more fully my thinking behind the two firms which
I initially proposed.  Below I've identified two software consulting
firms which might reasonably be said to offer the sort of consulting
services that you are looking for.  In dealing with a firm, rather
than an individual, there is at least initially some difficulty in
assessing the qualifications of the exact person who would be working
for you.  In a sense it's a problem of going through a "middleman" and
in that respect one might wish to have a more concrete "face" to put
on a firm in deciding to invest it with your project responsibilities.

The advantages of using a firm rather than an individual is the
greater likelihood of availability and a corresponding mitigation of

Having worked at smaller firms myself, I can tell you that it's
usually a goal of the owners to supplement the services revenue by
capitalizing on sales of "products" that might grow out of successful
projects (and that it's easier said than done to make this happen).

So those two firms were meant to illustrate a success in that
direction (with analytical software), as a proxy for being able to
help you with designing and implementing a commercial software

Of course the other side of this coin is that if a firm really begins
to be successful with product sales, the focus on consulting services
naturally becomes softened, at least for the principals.  However in
many cases (and in particular in the two cases I suggested), there may
be additional bright folks "hanging around" those firms whose services
might be available.  Vincent Granville at Data Shaping Solutions, for
example, has a certification program through which he recommends
analytical developers for particular recruiting assignments.  For
Merritt and Kroening at Amzi! there's an "in house" mathematician (Ray
Reeves) who contributes to their examples and other site content, and
who could conceivably be a good fit for your project.

So, having backtracked a little over my earlier response, here are two
firms that have an explicit focus on full life-cycle custom software
development in C/C++ or Java for analytical applications:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[Antrix, Inc. - Consulting Resources]

"Antrix provides complete Software Development Life Cycle services for
C/C++ and JAVA applications in UNIX and WINDOWS environment."  Offices
in Sunnyvale, California with offshore development sites in India.

Advertises on-site contract services as well as in-house expertise in
bioinformatics, financial software, and other analytical domains.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[DGS Software, Inc. - Custom Software Development]

"Software design and development in numerous languages including Perl,
C, C++, Visual Basic, Fortran, Assembly, on numerous platforms
including Windows, Unix, Linux, Windows CE and numerous mainframes." 
Located in Reno, Nevada area.

One of their projects developed a Windows Fortran interface library
using C/C++, ASM, and Fortran:

best wishes, mathtalk-ga

P.S.  As a side note wrt your other Question, I'd look at these folks:

[Association of Independent Information Professionals]
daviddlewis2-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

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