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Paper: The Design of an Object-Oriented, Distributable Camera Control System for the Ultracam Project
Volume: 281, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XI
Page: 156
Authors: Tierney, Chris; Beard, Steven
Abstract: Recent experience of camera systems, at the UKATC and elsewhere, has centred around a familiar vxWorks/VME-based architecture utilizing SDSU camera control hardware. In these systems, tight coupling between the host vxWorks software and low-level DSP code has greatly increased the software effort required to maintain and upgrade such systems. The Ultracam project will use updated hardware and a software design that aims to exploit the benefits on offer from new software technologies. The innovative architecture we propose for Ultracam is based on standard PC hardware running Linux, which reduces hardware and licensing costs and makes available a greater range of third party software. All message passing between internal software components will be achieved using XML over HTTP, immediately promising a system that is reconfigurable, distributable and scalable to larger systems. Furthermore, it allows the provision of a range of tailored interfaces to the user or developer. A new framework for low-level DSP applications will help to generate a product that is both more maintainable and far more flexible than some current systems. The project can be viewed as a test-bed for several promising software technologies that may find wide application in control systems for future astronomical instrumentation. In fact, we intend that the Ultracam system will provide a foundation for the adoption of technologies such as SOAP and RDF.
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