20 Years of Apress: Interview with MATLAB Authors Michael Paluszek & Stephanie Thomas

Apress is officially 20 years old. To celebrate, we're interviewing authors from Apress' past and present to get their valuable insights into both how their industry has changed and what they predict for the future.

Interview with MATLAB Authors Michael Paluszek & Stephanie Thomas

Apress: What macro & micro ways has your area(s) of expertise in tech changed since Apress was founded 20 years ago?

Paluszek & Thomas: My expertise has changed in many ways. I am doing far more Artificial Intelligence work than I was. I did AI studies at MIT, taking Patrick Winston’s course but hadn’t put it into practice. I’m also doing more energy related work.

Apress: In your personal professional journey, how have tech books factored into your work? Have they become less relevant over the years? More relevant? Stayed the same?

P&T: Tech books are still the best source of technical information. It is easier to get a complete understanding of new material from textbooks.

Apress: MATLAB is a particularly interesting area. As experts in it, how do you see it changing & growing over the next decade? Any predictions of the what the future MATLAB user base will be?

P&T: MATLAB is a great product and I used it every day. Today it has to compete with many free sources of technical tools, particularly those written in Python.

Apress: Lastly, what are some of your favorite interactions you’ve had with readers of your Apress books?

P&T: We have enjoyed interactions will all of our readers. All show great enthusiasm for the material and a willingness to learn challenging technology.

About the Authors

Michael Paluszek is the co-author of MATLAB Machine Learning Recipes published by Apress. He is President of Princeton Satellite Systems, Inc. (PSS) in Plainsboro, New Jersey. Mr. Paluszek founded PSS in 1992 to provide aerospace consulting services. He used MATLAB to develop the control system and simulation for the Indostar-1 geosynschronous communications satellite, resulting in the launch of PSS' first commercial MATLAB toolbox, the Spacecraft Control Toolbox, in 1995. Since then he has developed toolboxes and software packages for aircraft, submarines, robotics, and fusion propulsion, resulting in PSS' current extensive product line. He is currently leading an Army research contract for precision attitude control of small satellites and working with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory on a compact nuclear fusion reactor for energy generation and propulsion. Prior to founding PSS, Mr. Paluszek was an engineer at GE Astro Space in East Windsor, NJ. At GE he designed the Global Geospace Science Polar despun platform control system and led the design of the GPS IIR attitude control system, the Inmarsat-3 attitude control systems and the Mars Observer delta-V control system, leveraging MATLAB for control design. Mr. Paluszek also worked on the attitude determination system for the DMSP meteorological satellites. Mr. Paluszek flew communication satellites on over twelve satellite launches, including the GSTAR III recovery, the first transfer of a satellite to an operational orbit using electric thrusters. At Draper Laboratory Mr. Paluszek worked on the Space Shuttle, Space Station and submarine navigation. His Space Station work included designing of Control Moment Gyro based control systems for attitude control. Mr. Paluszek received his bachelors in Electrical Engineering, and master's and engineer’s degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is author of numerous papers and has over a dozen U.S. Patents.

Stephanie Thomas is the co-author of MATLAB Machine Learning Recipes, published by Apress. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1999 and 2001. Ms. Thomas was introduced to PSS' Spacecraft Control Toolbox for MATLAB during a summer internship in 1996 and has been using MATLAB for aerospace analysis ever since. She built a simulation of a lunar transfer vehicle in C++, LunarPilot, during the same internship. In her nearly 20 years of MATLAB experience, she has developed many software tools including the Solar Sail Module for the Spacecraft Control Toolbox; a proximity satellite operations toolbox for the Air Force; collision monitoring Simulink blocks for the Prisma satellite mission; and launch vehicle analysis tools in MATLAB and Java, to name a few. She has developed novel methods for space situation assessment such as a numeric approach to assessing the general rendezvous problem between any two satellites implemented in both MATLAB and C++. Ms. Thomas has contributed to PSS' Attitude and Orbit Control textbook, featuring examples using the Spacecraft Control Toolbox, and written many software User's Guides. She has conducted SCT training for engineers from diverse locales such as Australia, Canada, Brazil, and Thailand and has performed MATLAB consulting for NASA, the Air Force, and the European Space Agency.