An application library package was developed that represents data packets for Deep Space Network (DSN) message packets as dynamically alterable arrays composed of arbitrary polymorphic data types. The software was to address a limitation of the present state of the practice for having an array directly composed of a single monomorphic data type. This is a severe limitation when one is dealing with science data in that the types of objects one is dealing with are typically not known in advance and, therefore, are dynamic in nature. The unique feature of this approach is that it enables one to define at run-time the dynamic shape of the matrix with the ability to store polymorphic data types in each of its indices. Existing languages such as C and C++ have the restriction that the shape of the array must be known in advance and each of its elements be a monomorphic data type that is strictly defined at compile-time. This program can be executed on a variety of platforms. It can be distributed in either source code or binary code form. It must be run in conjunction with any one of a number of Lisp compilers that are available commercially or as shareware.

This program was written by Mark James of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free online at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Software category.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-42071.


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Dynamically Alterable Arrays of Polymorphic Data Types

(reference NPO-42071) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the December, 2006 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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