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JavaOne 2013 Impressions #5: My Chat with Sean Phillips, from Duke's Choice Award Winner a.i. solutions

Posted by editor on October 17, 2013 at 5:58 PM PDT

At JavaOne 2013, I had the privilege of speaking for 10-15 minutes with Sean Phillips, Senior Software Engineer at a.i. solutions. a.i. solutions was a JavaOne 2013 Duke's Choice Award winner, and Sean had come to the Java.net table in the JavaOne Exhibition Hall seeking me.

This was fortuitous, because among all of this year's Duke's Choice Award winners, the one that's closest in its objective to work I've done since 1993 is a.i. solutions, since their work is on satellites, as is my own day job work. Here's the description of the app that won a.i. solutions the Duke:

To help facilitate and deploy the 2014 launch of National Aeronautics and Space Agency’s (NASA) Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, a.i. solutions used Java Development Kit (JDK) 7, the NetBeans Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and JavaFX to create the GEONS Ground Support System. Using Java in this project helped reduce software development time by approximately 35 percent.

Geertjan Wielenga noticed and wrote about the GEONS Ground System Software (GGSS) back in April. Apparently (given the Duke's Choice win) others noticed later. Here's an image Geertjan included in his post:

Sean told me that a key objective was to provide information that could meet the needs of both the operators who monitor the satellite and the analysts who evaluate the incoming data from the satellite. Historically (and I can vouch for this myself from my own multiple decades of experience working with satellite data analysis), different sets of information have been available to the operators (who typically work with commands sent to the satellite and the success of raw byte downloads from the satellite) and the data analysts (who are concerned with the actual data that was downloaded, and its quality). The GEONS Ground Support System bridges this gap by providing information that can be understood by both satellite operators and satellite data analysts, facilitating a type of teamwork that has never really been possible in the past, as far as I can tell (and, as I said, I've worked in this area for the past two decades).

JavaFX is a big part of the award-winning application, and NetBeans was the platform that facilitated the 35% reduction in software development time. Sean told me that the NetBeans facility for plug-in development provided opportunities for utilizing plugins that were operator-specific and analyst-specific, but co-related. This attests to the flexibility of the NetBeans platform.

At the JavaOne 2013 Community Keynote, Sean talked about the project and presented a video that illustrates the mission the software supports (I'll provide a link to this video if I can find it).

This isn't the end of my discussion of how a.i. solutions is utilizing Java, NetBeans, and JavaFX for supporting satellite missions. I'm in contact with Sean relating to bringing more information onto Java.net about this project. That's pretty exciting to me!


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-- Kevin Farnham (@kevin_farnham)

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