While working at the NEAR Lab, Julien Desprez was a graduate student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University majoring in Software Engineering. He was part of a dual-degree with EPF – Graduate School of Engineering (France), where he majored in General Engineering. His research interests include technologies and practices for model-based software engineering applied to real world problems, as well as models that can lead to automatic code generation and reduce the amount of direct software development. At the NEAR Lab, Julien co-developed the Data Management Service (DMS) and worked on developing an EFB and the FOC Back-end.


DuPree Smith enjoyed serving CAAR (NEAR) in 2005-2006. After graduating the MSA program, he worked as an Airport Consultant for Leigh Fisher Associates near San Francisco. He went on to work as a Systems Engineer while conducting airspace simulations with the MITRE Corporation in the Washington D.C. area. DuPree and his wife currently live in Jacksonville, where he is blessed with a career as an Air Traffic Control Specialist.




Jon joined the NEAR lab in February 2008 after transferring as a junior from Embry-Riddle's Prescott, AZ campus. Initially hired to adapt a version of the virtual control tower he developed at Prescott for NEAR's research efforts, Jon quickly became involved in several other areas of research. He assisted NEAR researchers as a student analyst,  providing fast time modeling and simulation of airports and airspace utilizing the Total Airport and Airspace Modeling (TAAM) tool. Jon was on the team that provided analysis to airline customers and led a project for the FAA  involving redesigning en-route airspace to maximize efficiency. In continuing his support of FAA projects, Jon assisted in providing software support and lead student efforts on two FAA demonstrations held jointly with Embry-Riddle at the Florida NextGen Test Bed. Jon graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Air Traffic Management in 2009. Currently, Jon is a project manager for the Federal Aviation Administration in the Advanced Concepts & Technology Development Office under the Assistant Administrator for NextGen. Jon's day-to-day tasks include leading combined teams of Government and Industry personnel on air traffic research and  development projects within the agency to support the development of NextGen capabilities. Jon has completed two major demonstrations, one occurring at the Florida NextGen Test Bed in conjunction with The Boeing Company and Embry-Riddle. Current projects Jon leads for the agency include: 

  • Network Enabled Operations (NEO) is a joint Government-Industry team charged with researching future concepts of System Wide Information Management (SWIM) for the FAA. The most recent accomplishment for NEO was Spiral II, which yielded two demonstrations prototyping new capabilities in enhanced information sharing to FAA automation systems, allowing more efficient operations in the NAS, specifically with Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

  • Aircraft Access to System Wide Information Management (AAtS) is a future concept development looking at delivering capabilities to pilots in the cockpit via information sharing. In design, any information that is published on the FAA's SWIM network, allowed via user security protocols, would be consumable by pilots in the cockpit via an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) or tablet device of some type. Jon  began leading operational flight demonstrations proving this capability in 2013.

  • Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) Surface Surveillance Integration is an internal research effort aimed at testing ADS-B capability with various low cost surface surveillance capabilities to reduce the risk of Runway Incursions at the nation's airports. Currently, ADS-B capabilities are being tested with the Low Cost Ground Surveillance (LCGS) prototype system at  several airports across the country.


Vishwam works on the backend system that powers Microsoft's MSDN, Technet and other development portals. This work can be summarized in the following sentence: " if you ever want to write an app for anything Microsoft (Windows, Xbox, WP7, Office  or dozens of others), you'd get all the information from these sites."  The backend system is basically a library system for software APIs (Application Program Interfaces). Vishwam was a Research Assistant in the NEAR lab,  supporting the FAA's NextGen program for over two years. He specifically was involved in Task H, "Oceanic Conflict Advisory Tool," and also on a variety of projects related to private investors, such as Business Travel Advisory "BTA", and PHAD2. Although  he currently works on a completely different set of technologies, he credits most of  his knowledge of software development (at least, the useful parts) to his time in the lab, where  he was given the freedom to choose  his tools and participate in the design process of the projects.  He highly recommends the NEAR Lab as a place to work as it is  a useful complement to the material taught in classes.