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To cut a long story short, software engineer Edwin Harmsma spends his time with cows, pipelines and earthquakes. He uses his favourite software development method, for which he himself introduced a new platform at TNO.
“In the Monitoring & Control Services department, I design large-scale software systems that you can use to collect valuable information from shared data. If people ask me exactly what I do, I talk about cows, pipelines and earthquakes. For example, our team developed a system that dairy farmers, their partners and breeders can use to share sensor data about individual cows, enabling the livestock to live healthily and be productive for longer. Large amounts of data are also collected and processed about the quality of underground pipelines. This new information can be used by gas distribution operators and water companies to improve their decision-making on whether or not pipelines need replacing.”
“Another great project that I am working on is a measurement and monitoring network we have developed for the oil and gas company NAM. It senses the vibrations that occur in a building during an earthquake. The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) measures vibrations underground, more than 300 TNO sensors measure movements in buildings. Although a causal link had already been shown to exist between gas exploration and earthquakes, the people of Groningen now finally have some openness and insight into the damaging consequences for their homes. Whenever I see an item on the news about this, I feel a sense of pride. My work is about more than just developing software - we are actually helping society with that software. At TNO, you know that you are working for the greater good.”
“After completing my Master’s degree in Software Engineering & Distributed Systems, I had the choice of doing a PhD or going straight into industry. I opted for TNO because of its links to the academic world and the research freedom it offers. There are so many different projects here that there are always opportunities to embark in a totally different direction.”
“If you have a good idea, you are given every opportunity to put it into practice at TNO. One of my hobby horses is continuous delivery - a software development method that enables you to get ideas into production as quickly and efficiently as possible. Together with three colleagues who are also advocates of continuous delivery, I brought this method to the attention of the TNO management. I was then able to introduce a new collaborative platform for the whole of TNO and our partners. It is now being used by more than 500 colleagues. The combination of open-source software and the way in which we apply it has even attracted interest internationally.”
“I really enjoy working at TNO. Ideally, I would like to develop my career in continuous delivery and upscaling issues. I can do that at TNO as there are so many opportunities here. I am curious to see which fields and applications I will encounter in the future in which my expertise can make a difference.”