Special Coverage

Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection

Streams: A Hyper-Responsive Telemetry Interaction Tool on the Web

A new search database provides a hyper-responsive interface that allows operators to rapidly search for only the datapoints of interest.JPL Operations Engineers (Operators) need to interact with their telemetry to assess the health of and successfully operate a spacecraft or rover. Operators must analyze the immediate data for health and understand the current state of these complex systems, but they also must be able to evaluate the long-term engineering data to identify trends and potential pitfalls that develop over time. Whether starting with long-term trends or short-term data, operators have large amounts of data and need a tool so that their expertise is spent analyzing the data and trends, rather than working to tease these trends from outdated toolsets not equipped to handle large data sets. Existing tools pre-compute either long-term trends or short-term plots, but further ad-hoc analysis is prohibitively difficult, can take many hours per query, and queries necessitate either special access or that the operator be on a specific network to access data and to correlate it to models.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer software and hardware, Internet, Telemetry, Data management


Auto-Coding Flight Software Hybrid Controllers Synthesized from Formal Specifications

The technique of synthesizing state-machine-based hybrid controller flight software (FSW) from formal specifications is demonstrated utilizing two simple controller examples (i.e. a simple thermostat and a simple autonomous vehicle). Formal requirements for these controllers are specified using linear temporal logic (LTL) expressions, expressions describing the system dynamics, and numerical bounds on the control inputs and disturbances (or constraints). A new interface between the Temporal Logic Planning (TuLiP) toolbox — a hybrid controller synthesis software — and the JPL Statechart Autocoder (SCA) — a tool for mapping UML Statecharts to implementation code — was developed. The interface is still under development, but has reached sufficient maturity for demonstration. Results from preliminary prototype demonstrations encourage further collaboration between JPL and Caltech to develop a new capability for synthesizing hybrid controllers to be implemented within JPL Flight Software.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer software and hardware, Flight control systems, Collaboration and partnering


Active Learning System for iPTF Candidate Classification

The Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) is a visible-spectrum astronomy survey aimed at detecting “transient” events such as supernovae. Every night, a telescope at the Palomar observatory collects images of various regions of the sky and compares them to a set of reference images taken on previous nights. The image comparison is done via a subtraction process. The reference images are subtracted from the new nightly images, and any remaining light sources are flagged as candidate transient events.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Artificial intelligence, Imaging and visualization


Cobra: an Extendable Tool for Interactive Code Analysis

Source code analysis typically requires the use of expensive and difficult-to-configure tools that support only a predefined set of standard checks. In some cases, it is possible to add customized checks, but doing so can be laborious and requires a deep understanding of each tool’s internal data structures, which means that it is rarely done.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer software and hardware, Tools and equipment


A 40-Year Legacy and Excitement for the Future

As I approach retirement after 40 years as CEO of National Instruments (NI), I am reminded of the great progress and innovations the test and measurement industry has witnessed over that time. We have gone from an industry driven by vacuum tube technology in the era of General Radio, to a time where the transistor ruled with Hewlett-Packard, to today where software truly is the instrument — a transition that NI helped shepherd.

Posted in: Articles, Software, Test & Measurement, Measurements, People and personalities, Technical review


Modeling and Analysis Software

COMSOL (Burlington, MA) announced updates to COMSOL Multiphysics® modeling and simulation software that include a Rotordynamics Module. The module is designed to help engineers analyze vibrations due to centrifugal forces and other gyroscopic effects in rotating machinery. The module helps confirm that rotor vibrations are contained within acceptable design limits by evaluating critical speed, whirl, and bearings. Users can post-process their results directly within the software and present their analysis results as Campbell diagrams, modal orbits, harmonic orbits, waterfall plots, and whirl plots.

Posted in: Products, Software


Robot Programming Software

With the RISE interactive graphical interface from Hypertherm (Hanover, NH), users control the Robotmaster V6 programming software from within a robot simulation environment. Users can modify a robot’s positions and trajectories by clicking and dragging the robot’s arm, axes, tools, or the workpiece. To manage transition moves between operations, users can jog the robot joint-by-joint; move the robot on the workpiece or tool frames; and change the base, elbow, or wrist configurations. The workspace analysis feature is fully integrated into RISE to help position parts. Visualization of the robot’s reach limits, coupled with dynamic recalculation, shows the impact of changes made on all operations. Process parameters can be created, modified, and controlled by the user for the entire program, specific operations, or at select points.

Posted in: Products, Robotics, Software


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