Building a Custom, Technology Enabled Delivery Stack; Impact of Reduced Computing Complexity

Clark, Charles Harrison, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Baritaud, Catherine, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Graham, Daniel, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

The transition to the cloud has enabled a wide range of software applications. By leveraging the cloud, two undergraduate computer science majors were able to develop and deploy a cloud-based application from scratch in less than two months. The technical research paper details the development of this cloud-based website and phone application to manage the delivery network for a local restaurant. The STS research paper examines the impact the reduction of computing cloud that has been enabled by the transition to the cloud and its impact on businesses. The loosely coupled technical research paper serves as an example of the power of leveraging the cloud’s reduced computing complexity to deploy software applications quickly and cheaply as discussed in the STS research paper.
Undertaken at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the technical report details the delivery management system developed in under two months to enable the restaurant to provide delivery to their customers during the pandemic’s lockdown period. The report highlights two of the biggest advantages of the cloud as compared to traditional on-premises datacenters. The technical report details the implementation of the delivery management platform across its multiple user interfaces and the backend. The report begins with a detailed explanation of the application’s backend that stores all the necessary data, details the two user interfaces in the form of a website and mobile phone application, and discusses external integrations with the restaurants existing point-of-sale systems.
The STS research paper attempts to highlight the magnitude of the impact cloud computing has had on software startups. As computing has progressed from its early days, each step in the evolution of computing, specifically enterprise computing, has significantly reduced the necessary complexity to deploy a computer application. The research paper draws upon previous research around the history of cloud computing and its benefits. The paper uses the Social Construction of Technology STS framework adapted from Pinch and Bijker’s “The Social Construction of Facts and Artifacts” to examine the impact of enterprises and the technological artifacts throughout the evolution of computing.
The research paper begins with a history of the evolution of computing up to the advent of cloud computing. With each step from mainframe servers to microprocessor-based datacenters to the cloud, the complexity and costs required to purchase, setup, and maintain computing infrastructure has significantly decreased. Zoom, the videoconferencing software company, and its transition to the cloud during the COVID-19 pandemic is used as a case study for the benefits of the cloud over on-premises datacenters. Finally, the research paper concludes with a discussion of possible futures steps in the evolution of computing including serverless computing and blockchain technology.
As enterprises of all sizes and industries continue to increase their reliance on software applications, reducing the complexity of computing enables innovations from locally owned restaurants to international software companies. Due to the wide range of discussed benefits, the cloud has already enabled countless businesses to better focus on their core products rather than spending resources on developing a complex computing infrastructure. With a multitude of new computing solutions on the horizon, the continued reduction of computing complexity will enable continued innovation.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Cloud Computing, Social Construction of Technology, Serverless Computing, Competition

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Daniel Graham
STS Advisor: Catherine D. Baritaud

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