Posts Tagged ‘SJSU CS Colloquium’

Epocrates Presentation at SJSU

October 4, 2007

Glenn and Tom, from Epocrates, gave a presentation at MacQuarrie Hall (the CS/Math building at SJSU) today. Glenn comes from a Computer Science background and developed one of the original versions of the Epocrates software and Tom is the Main Manager at Epocrates. They both started working at Epocrates in 1999 so they know a lot about the company and are full of great information.

Epocrates is a company that provides a suite of PDA applications that are designed for use by health care professionals. They have some pretty cool tools that are helping doctors make fewer mistakes. For instance, doctors can add a list of drugs to be prescribed, and the Epocrates software can help determine if any of those drugs conflict with each other. Apparently their software is very widely used, and they have subscribers around the world.

During the presentation I learned about how Epocrates started, how their products developed, and the development process they use, among other things. I was expecting them to talk a lot about their products from an end user perspective which I have seen from many other presenters. Instead they talked much more about how the company started and how they develop software. This was a nice surprise because I’m not that interested in health care software but I am very interested in how an idea can become reality and how an entire business can be built around it. These guys are really smart so it was fun to hear about all the types of solutions they used to make their products better. Glenn and Tom were both very honest and open and had a lot of information to share with us. I appreciated the approach they took.

Dr. Louden, the Computer Science Department Chair, specifically pointed out that Epocrates was started by Stanford business students. He expressed that he would like to see more collaboration between Computer Science and Business students which is why he is asking CS students to get involved in the Entrepreneur Club.

One cool thing Glenn and Tom talked about is the fact that the developers at Epocrates developed their own PDA abstraction layer called XPlat that makes it easier for them to create software that will work on both Palm OS and Pocket PC. We were actually shown some of the XPlat code so we could see how it is used by the Epocrates software. I was also interested to know that they use Perforce for version control. In conclusion Glenn and Tom gave a great presentation and I’m glad they took the time to come talk to us.