About Joe (Compressed Bio)

Joe Viscomi is the Director of Information Services and Technology at Brehm Preparatory School, Inc., a school for children and young adults with complex learning disabilities in Carbondale, Illinois. Viscomi holds degrees in computer science and mathematics. Joe’s research interests include machine learning, cooperative distributed problem solving, knowledge representation and automated reasoning. Joe has published several articles in leading scientific and other journals, some of the topics include automated economic optimizations, reasoning based on unlabeled graphs, robotics & automated systems, and effective STEM education of students with complex learning disabilities. Viscomi has given many guests lectures at several universities and conferences, which include; Southern Illinois University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, International Dyslexia Association, The Association of Boarding Schools, MacWorld, and others. Some of his more recent endeavors include being a founding member of the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE project) organized by The Dyslexia Foundation, and designing and implementing a highly adaptive intelligent knowledge management system for understating and recommending optimal remediation and education models for students with learning disabilities. Before arriving at Brehm Joe was a software architect and unix system programmer and has developed software for large scale distributed systems. Joe has over 10 years experience in designing, building and maintaining complex software and computer systems. He is also very interested in environmental engineering, ecological responsible building, and alternative energy sources. In his free time he contributes to several open source projects, volunteers as the lead mentor for FIRST Robotics team 2219, experience new things, play hockey, boating, internationally travel, and enjoys all the local wineries with his family and friends.

Current Position

Director of Information Services & Technology @ Brehm Preparatory School.   Date of hire: 10/21/2004

I currently oversee the IT department's staff and budget at Brehm. I am responsible for guiding Brehm's technological vison and managing the systems, design, implementation, and upkeep of related technologies Brehm utilizes.

Implementing a single mode 12 pair fiber campus intranet for building to building connection, designing and deploying a complete campus wireless network, replaced costly windows based services with Unix/Linux based open source solutions such as utilizing OpenLDAP instead of Active Directory, implemented a Apple 1-to-1 laptop program for Brehm's staff and students, leveraged OpenVPN / netfilter / snort / squid / DansGuarding / Clam AV to build a robust firewall - connect several satellite locations - and control web content access, migrated campus DNS to OpenDNS and email services to Google Apps for Education is a short list of some of the project I managed and completed early in my career at Brehm.

More recently some of the projects I have overseen include the following:

  • Automated the management of IT related tasks (to save time and money), this includes implementing and leveraging the following technologies in a unified manner: DeployStudio, Reposado, Munki, Puppet, Crankd, freeRADIUS, Nagios along with many custom written bash scripts to integrate the process. This level of automation and only utilizing Open Source projects we were able to significantly reduce our reactive and "task/robot" workloads, which equated to over $100,000 in savings annually.
  • Installation and setup of an asterisk VoIP phone system. By replacing the entire (aging & proprietary) campus phone system is expected to save drastically on costs with a projected 10 year saving of $120,000 over the old NEC 2000 phone system.
  • Upgrading the campus netwrok to be IPv6 compliant and reduce broadcast traffic, implemented building specific subnets and VLANS, implemented QoS & CoS.
  • Upgraded the campus Internet connection to a 100Mbit Fiber line from the multiple bonded T-1 connections. This actually costs the same amount of money / month but significantly increased Brehm's bandwidth to better cope with all the interactive media and web based technologies available today.
  • Implemented the Linux Bandwidth Arbitrator to better shape bandwidth coming in and going out of the campus network.
  • Leveraged virtual servers & desktops, we have virtualized over a dozen machines for specific tasks. This has allowed us to make better use of our hardware for occasionally used but necessary services. We currently virtualize, Debian, OS X, Window XP (for legacy software) and deliver all of these services over our high-speed campus fiber network.
  • Designed and overseen the construction of a Real Time Education Based Analytics Engine. In order to optimize educational remediation and interventions for students with learning disabilities. Truly giving educators and administrators the ability to make the most informed data-driven decision they can. This has been partly funded by the Department of Education - Office of Innovation and Technology: FIE# U215K100165. This is a vary large scale project in cooperations with many individuals and potentially has the ability to really affect change in how education is conducted. This project involved the use of the following technologies (list is not comprehensive): JavaScript, HTML5, openstack, mahout, Hadoop, ExtJS, NodeJS, MongoDB, MySQL, PHP, C/C++.

Previous Position

Lead Software Architect @ SchoolCenter.   Term of Employment: 9/6/2002 - 10/15/2004

I was responsible for designing and implementing a highly available & redundant distributed email system for their user base. Requirements included spam and virus filtering, archiving & replication, discovery, interface with the POP, IMAP, and SMTP protocols as well as a web based front end. The system could handel multiple node failures and more than 25,000 concurrent connections. This was implemented in C/C++ running on FreeBSD servers, while leveraging MySQL, Sendmail, SpamAssassin, Clam AV.

I was also responsible for code review - specifically for evaluating efficiency of algorithms and make to recommendations as needed. Along with minor feature set additions to both the client and server frameworks when needed.

Other Works ...

Software Engineer @ Southern Illinois University.   Term of Employment: 9/XX/2000 - 8/XX/2002

  • Designed and implemented a software distribution system which authenticated to the campus AD server to determine which software licenses the staff / student had access to.
  • Wrote a tcl/expect script to crawl the campus network and disable a port on a switch when given a DHCP address of the client machine. Before this there was no practical way to disable a cisco's switch port from only the DHCP address of the client device.
  • Integrated a mechanism within the cisco BBSM system deployed on SIUC's campus to for client computers to meet certain minimum criteria before allowing them access to the network. If the clients failed the test the required updates would be forced down do their machines and installed, for instance a virus scanner and up-to-date definitions and windows critical updates.

Unix/Linux System Programmer @ Phoenix Computers.   Term of Employment: 1998 - 2000

  • Wrote system extensions in C as required.
  • Wrote bash scripts to automate client requests.
  • Configured and secured Linux servers as needed.

Network Administrator @ Olson Communications.   Term of Employment: 1996 - 1998

  • Maintained Windows and Novell network for organization (approximately 12 users).
  • Updated, fixed, installed equipment as needed.
  • Restored from a catastrophic failure.