CAE ANNUAL REPORT 2020-2021
BTJ’S FLAGSHIP TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM EXPANDS TO NEW HEIGHTS
BTJ’s College of Applied Engineering (CAE) is one of Israel’s foremost institutions to offer a combined program of cutting-edge technological education alongside high-level Jewish studies. In conjunction with the Israel Defense Forces, the college prepares students for top technological, R&D, and computer/cyber security intelligence units.
CAE was launched in 1971 as a two-year academic program awarding an associate degree in Applied Engineering. From its inception, the CAE has worked closely with the IDF to meet the army’s urgent demand for soldiers with technological expertise, synchronizing the curriculum to the military’s changing needs.
Today, over 100 students annually are accepted to the competitive BTJ College of Applied Engineering program. These young men are granted a postponement of their compulsory military duty during the two-year course of studies, followed by a five-year stint in select IDF units utilizing their specialized knowledge.
In 2007, the IDF tapped the CAE as a center for the prestigious Israel Air Force “Shachak” project. “Shachak” recruits outstanding electronics majors to be trained for IAF technical support teams which develop, construct and maintain aircraft. In 2010, the CAE became a training center for the “Marom” program to cultivate officers for the Technology & Maintenance Corps, trained to develop cutting-edge weapons systems vital to Israel’s survival. In 2016, CAE inaugurated the Software Engineering division to prepare officers for Cyber Security units in the Intelligence and Computer Corps, and in 2018 CAE introduced the Electrical Engineering Department to provide skilled manpower for the operation and upkeep of Air Force fighter planes.
The academic excellence of BTJ’s College of Applied Engineering is enhanced by the world-class equipment and facilities provided by the Israel Henry Beren Electronics Center, the Judge David B. and Irma R. Follender Robotics Center, the Josh Weston Center for Advanced Technology, and the ongoing support of the Leir Charitable Foundations.
A landmark 2015 agreement between Boys Town and the prominent Jerusalem College of Technology enables select students to receive both an Applied Engineering degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic/Software Engineering.
MEET THE COLLEGE OF APPLIED ENGINEERING PROJECT ADVISORS
YEHUDAH DAHAN of the Electronics Division has brought rich experience in the electronics industry to his teaching profession. He joined the BTJ faculty in 2006. Yehudah Dahan immigrated to Israel from Morocco as a youngster.
YOSSI LAVIE, a veteran of over 40 years of teaching, is a top administrator of the College of Applied Engineering. He holds a B.A. from the ORT College of Engineering, and joined the BTJ high school electronics faculty and CAE in 1997. Lavie immigrated from Iran to Israel as a youngster in 1969.
ILAN PERETS of the Software Engineering Division has over two decades experience in teaching high school, as well as training Computer Science teachers at the college level. Ilan is presently completing his doctoral studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
YITZCHAK ORBACH of the Electrical Engineering Division held top positions in Israeli industry before entering the teaching profession. He holds a BA from the Technion in Electrical Engineering, an MBA from Clark University, and an LLB from Tel Aviv University. He joined the CAE faculty in 2015.
DAVID COHEN of the Electronics Division worked in hi-tech before entering the world of education “for the challenge.” He earned his BA at the Jerusalem Institute of Technology and joined the CAE faculty in 2000. Cohen served as the mentor for the joint project between CAE and the Israeli Police Technology Development Division.
AND NOW, MEET SOME OF THE NEWEST CLASS OF 2020-2021 CAE GRADUATES
The pages that follow feature a close-up on 6 of the newest graduates from each of the four divisions of the College of Applied Engineering.
PROJECT: PLANNING THE ELECTRICAL INFRASTRUCTURE FOR AN INDUSTRIAL BREAD BAKERY
Yakov Belay is the oldest of five children of Ethiopian immigrants to Israel. His father works at minimum wage as a janitor, and his mother is unemployed. Now proudly graduating Boys Town Jerusalem’s College of Applied Engineering with a major in Electrical Engineering, Yakov will soon apply his knowledge to excelling in an IDF technological unit.
Yakov devoted his graduate project to the “real life” electrical engineering challenge of drawing up an electrical blueprint prototype for a major industrial bread bakery. Poring over the architectural specifications, Yakov plotted the electrical grid for the massive factory’s lighting, industrial ovens, freezers and other heavy machinery, computers and much more, after carefully calculating each item’s voltage. “I worked on this project from early morning till 9 PM for weeks on end,” Yakov admits. He firmly stresses his gratitude for the encouragement and generosity of Boys Town Jerusalem in providing him a full scholarship, room and board in the dormitory, and even a computer to use during the Covid campus closure when classes became “remote.”
Yakov Belay, 19, is from Beit Shemesh. Following his IDF service, he has two dreams: “I want to build on my electrical engineering skills to enter the realm of cyber technology,” Yakov declares, adding that his goal is to become a teacher. “I’ve learned a great deal from all my teachers, especially the amazing BTJ faculty. It’s time to close the circle and make my own contribution to help the next generation of students understand and enjoy learning.”
PROJECT: PLANNING THE ELECTRICAL INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A SHOPPING CENTER
By the time Binyamin Feldman reached Grade 10, he had been placed in an institution for problematic youth-at-risk. Fortunately, here he was offered an intensive remedial education where he first learned basic subjects. From there on, Binyamin set his sights on reaching the top. His acceptance to BTJ’s College of Applied Engineering became a crucial key in opening the gates for Binyamin to reach an advanced IDF division, a successful career and a much brighter future.
Majoring in the Electrical Engineering department, Binyamin gained a strong basis in Electronics and Computer Studies during his first-year curriculum. By the second year, he delved into his specialized Electrical Engineering studies. His Graduate Project involved creating a full electrical blueprint prototype for a large neighborhood shopping mall.
“The project forced me to consider and create solutions for a vast diversity of electrical needs. With stores ranging from eateries to clothing shops, I drew up an electrical infrastructure to support everything from commercial ovens and dishwashers to heating and cooling systems and computer networks.”
During the year-plus closure of the school due to the pandemic, BTJ provided Binyamin with a computer to enable him to attend his remote Zoom classes. “Beyond my full scholarship, room and board and computer, Boys Town Jerusalem gave me confidence, knowledge, and the ability to appreciate the good in all people.”
Binyamin Feldman, 20, is from the small settlement of El-Ad. He is the second of seven children. Following graduation from the College of Applied Engineering, Binyamin will begin his IDF service in a unit employing his expertise in electrical engineering.
PROJECT: TOP SECRET
“I. H.” is one of two Boys Town Jerusalem College of Applied Engineering students to be tapped by the Israeli Air Force to create his Senior Project within the framework of the IAF Research and Development division. As such, he leaves the campus several days each week to carry out his project’s research, planning and construction at a military facility.
Majoring in Electronic Engineering, I.H. has top praise for Boys Town Jerusalem’s college. “Living conditions in the dormitory are excellent, and the faculty is top-notch. Teachers listen, help and instruct on the highest level. I’m grateful to have acquired the crucial basics of my electronic engineering education here, as well as the support to master the material.”
For I. H., the Covid crisis posed particular challenges. “I continued my College of Applied Electronics studies at home via Zoom, and reported to the IAF facility as well. The work was extremely intensive and demanding each day in each place.”
I.H., 19, is from the greater Jerusalem area. He is one of four siblings. Soon to begin his five-year term of duty in the Israel Air Force where he will become an officer, I.H. looks forward to continuing his electronics studies in future.
PROJECT: REMOTE-CONTROL VEHICLE WITH MULTI-DIRECTIONAL WHEELS
For nearly a year, as the Covid pandemic raged, Boys Town Jerusalem College of Applied Engineering (CAE) student Tzvi Kut envisioned, programmed, created and recreated his ingenuous Graduation Project. With each modification, the finished product gained new sophistication, inspiring its creator to reach all the higher.
“I’ve always been fascinated by wheels,” Tzvi admits. His project took the form of a robotic vehicle sporting Mecanum wheels capable of moving in any direction, thus allowing the vehicle to remain in place as it changes course. Programmed accurately, the remote-control-guided robot can maneuver and fit precisely into tight spaces, making it ideal for use in military assignments and factory warehouse settings.
After first conceiving, coding and building the vehicle, Tzvi then began adding improved components. Today, the robot is flawlessly controlled by the mere slight of a hand holding a cellphone. By monitoring the robot’s location and movement through the phone’s camera, the user can simply tilt his/her hand at the proper angle to swivel the vehicle into motion.
Tzvi Kut, 20, is from Jerusalem. Graduating from a special educational framework for those “on the spectrum,” Tzvi applied to CAE to acquire advanced electronics skills.
“The instructors were excellent, and the ‘hands-on’ approach was perfect for me,” he states. Best, the brilliant student happily tutored and assisted his classmates. Tzvi now looks forward to serving in an advanced IDF Electronics unit.
PROJECT: CREATING A PC GAME OF “ISOLA” (ISOLATION)
The very first time that Ruben Cardoso played the board game “Isolation” two years ago, he never imagined that he would later devote two full years to calculating its every possible move and strategy. Nor could he have ever guessed that the world would plunge into a pandemic-caused Isolation (and crave board games).
As a major in Software Engineering, Ruben’s first-year curriculum involved the careful study of game theory and artificial intelligence as he tackled the task of transforming the board game to a computerized entity. “The basic goal of this strategy game for two players is to isolate the opponent so he cannot move. I analyzed every possible move towards the goal that the computer always wins.”
By the second year, Ruben transformed his Isolation game from a one-computer platform to that of a server enabling countless players simultaneously to vie against opponents round the globe.
“Using the JAVA computer language, I essentially had to program the computer to calculate 20 moves ahead in its goal to determine what moves are best for it and worst for the opposing player. I succeeded in enabling the computer to win 95% of the time.”
Ruben Cordoso, 19, immigrated with his parents and three siblings to Israel from France in 2014. A resident of Netanya, Ruben will now begin his 5-year service in the IDF where he will be assigned to an advanced computer division, the Intelligence Corps or to a cyber security unit. In future, he hopes to pursue advanced computer studies and a career in this burgeoning realm.
PROJECT: CREATING A PC GAME OF “HEX“
“Hex,” a popular board game first introduced in the 1950s, looks so easy to play. Yet after devoting the past two years of his studies to an intricate analysis of the game’s composition, BTJ College of Applied Engineering student Alon Zur can attest that Hex is built upon highly complex mathematical theorems.
The first year of Alon’s studies in his challenging Software Engineering major, he reached the underlying algorithm, while playing the game endlessly till he began to understand its construction. “In the process, I began to learn how to expand my thinking, how to look at the parts that make up the big picture,” Alon admitted. By his second year, Alon advanced to creating an online version of the game enabling players from across the globe to vie at Hex or simply to play against the computer as an opponent. What’s more, this technology also enables the habit-forming game to be played on a cell phone.
Alon Zur, 19, is from Netanya. The grandson of immigrants to Israel from Yemen, Alon will now be enlisting in an IDF unit utilizing his expertise in both software and electronic engineering. In future, he hopes to pursue higher learning to excel in his field.