by Ms. Edit Boral | Pictured: Virtual Chat with Jimmy Ng.
Have you ever wondered how Amazon sends out packages so quickly? In September, Molloy Computer Science & Engineering students virtually visited the Amazon Fulfillment Center (FC) and learned about the technology behind it. This live virtual event helped students see the real-life implementation of computer science in a new, exciting way.
One of the most important parts of the FC tour was understanding how automation works and how to use algorithmic thinking to develop and test automated solutions. Students witnessed the process of putting cloud computing, quality control, and machine learning in effect. “The entire tour showed the importance of computer science and how it will continue to evolve and integrate into our everyday lives,” said Nancy Xie ‘23. “Last year, we played a coding game in computer science class where we learned how to program an Amazon fulfillment center robot, Hercules, to deliver our friend’s birthday present on time. So, I enjoyed watching the actual process come to life during the visit,” Xie said.
AP CSA student Joseph McGowan ‘23 said: “When we think about ordering packages on Amazon, our biggest worry is most likely how fast will they arrive. During the Amazon Fulfillment Center Virtual Tour, we were able to get an inside look at the process it takes to get that item in our Amazon shopping cart from one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers to our doorstep. Additionally, the tour highlighted the importance of robots and computer science in Amazon’s various fulfillment centers (pictured right). It was very interesting to see the robots bring the desired item to the proper station in which that item will be packed and processed. Once done, the items then go through Amazon’s SLAM machine (Scan, Label, Apply, Manifest) and are then given the proper shipping label. Learning about this process helped me understand that without computer science, fulfillment centers would not be able to operate. I enjoyed the tour immensely,” McGowan said.
Besides the FC tour, students had a chance to participate in an inspiring chat with Amazon’s technical program manager, Jimmy Ng, who gave them valuable advice. When asked about the qualities he possesses that allow him to be happy and successful at his job, Mr. Ng emphasized teamwork, empathy, and good writing skills. “I found Mr. Ng’s virtual chat extremely helpful as it gave me an inside look at the type of environment and work required to be a successful employee at Amazon,” McGowan said.