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WIP - iCtrl - A Remote Login Software Application

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Computers in Education 2 - Programming 2

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Paper Authors


Junhao Liao University of Toronto

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Junhao Liao is a fourth year Computer Engineering student at University of Toronto.
Previously, he worked as a Teaching Assistant at University of Toronto and as a Software Engineering Intern in Qualcomm's Automotive Display Team. He is interested in software programming and User Experience designs. He is proficient with C, C++ and Python and familiar with JavaScript, PSQL, Intel FPGA Verilog and ARM Assembly(V7).

Personal Website:

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Haoran Zhang University of Toronto


Jiaxing Li University of Toronto

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Jiaxing Li graduated from University of Toronto. He studied Computer Engineering for undergraduate. He will join Intel as a software engineer.

Jiaxing Li is responsible for creating a C++ software model of the FPGA chip that the rest of the compiler can interact with. The FPGA chip is composed of various building blocks. Examples of building blocks are Look-up tables, Flip Flops, Clocks, Routing, IO and more.

For each of our basic blocks that compose the FPGA he
-understand the customer usage with silicon design and other teams
-align on ports and parameters of the basic blocks
-package blocks in higher level IPs, or support IP teams to do that
-enable synthesis support and implement compiler legality checks
-support internal and customer facing simulations
-enable place and route (where applicable)
-create logical to physical translations
-interact with timing and power data
-ensure setting correctness to enable FPGA to function as intended

Jiaxing Li has also worked for BiblioCommons, where he is responsible for:
- Improve, maintain, and deploy backend services built in Spring Boot (Java). JRuby on Rails (JRuby)
- Monitor and maintain the platform services with tools such as: AWS (S3, Lambda, Glue, Athena, CloudWatch), Ansible, TeamCity, Docker, SQL, Prometheus
- Work in team with Jira (Bitbucket, Confluence, Agile)

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Yizhong Xu University of Toronto

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Undergraduate student at the University of Toronto (2017-2022).
Bachelor's degree of Electrical and Computer Engineering with a Business Minor Degree.
Co-op internship at Tencent as a Web Developer starting in July 2020.
Passionate about programming. Sophisticated with C/ C++, familiar with JavaScript, PSQL, Intel FPGA Verilog and ARM Assembly(V7).
Upcoming graduate students in University of New South Wales, major in Master of Information Technology.

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Hamid Timorabadi University of Toronto

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Hamid Timorabadi received his BSc, MASc, and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto. He has worked as a project, design, and test engineer as well as a consultant to industry. His research interests include the application of digital signal processing in energy systems and computer networks. He also has deep interest in engineering education and the use of technology to advance the learning experience of undergraduate students.

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As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for remote computer connection has drastically increased. This need is also anticipated to increase in the future as many institutes allow working remotely. This paper reports on a development of a software called “iCtrl”, which started in late 2020. iCtrl is a desktop remote-control application that allows remote connection to an institute’s computer facilities. iCtrl application supports Virtual Network Computing (VNC) connection on both Windows and macOS operating systems. It offers a user-friendly interface to eliminate complicated setup processes. iCtrl has been used for over two years and received positive ratings from undergraduate students in a first-year programming language course and a third-year computer network course. Feedback provided by students suggested a few potential improvements such as cross-platform support and Secure Shell (SSH) connections. This motivated us to design a web-based version for iCtrl in summer 2021 that supported cross-OS platform access, SSH and VNC connection, while providing an industry-leading file management interface design with reference to Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. This allowed not only to transfer responsibilities of platform support to the browser developers but also to design a more intuitive interface for the students to upload, retrieve and manage files using the SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). The latest survey noted an 86.2% approval of our application over the traditional methods, and the download count of the application is now 10 times of the old version after we applied engineering practices.

Liao, J., & Zhang, H., & Li, J., & Xu, Y., & Timorabadi, H. (2022, August), WIP - iCtrl - A Remote Login Software Application Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--40631

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