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Paper: The ALMA Common Software as a Basis for a Distributed Software Development
Volume: 281, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XI
Page: 103
Authors: Raffi, Gianni; Chiozzi, Gianluca; Glendenning, Brian
Abstract: The Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) is a joint project involving astronomical organizations in Europe, North America and Japan. ALMA will consist of 64 12-m antennas operating in the millimetre and sub-millimetre wavelength range, with baselines of more than 10 km. It will be located at an altitude above 5000 m in the Chilean Atacama desert. The ALMA Computing group is a joint group with staff scattered on 3 continents and is responsible for all the control and data flow software related to ALMA, including tools ranging from support of proposal preparation to archive access of automatically created images. Early in the project it was decided that an ALMA Common Software (ACS) would be developed as a way to provide to all partners involved in the development a common software platform. The original assumption was that some key middleware like communication via CORBA and the use of XML and Java would be part of the project. It was intended from the beginning to develop this software in an incremental way based on releases, so that it would then evolve into an essential embedded part of all ALMA software applications. In this way we would build a basic unity and coherence into a system that will have been developed in a distributed fashion. This paper evaluates our progress after 1.5 year of work, following a few tests and preliminary releases. It analyzes the advantages and difficulties of such an ambitious approach, which creates an interface across all the various control and data flow applications.
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