NASA selects Vortex Suite for SMART National Airspace System

155080main_facet_hrVortex OpenSplice, Cloud and Fog data sharing platforms provide scalability, dynamic discovery, Qualities of Service and tooling capabilities required by system

Vortex OpenSplice, Vortex Cloud and Vortex Fog have been selected by NASA for use in the SMART-NAS (Shadow Mode Assessment Using Realistic Technologies for the National Airspace System) Project.

SMART-NAS is an air traffic management simulation project designed to accelerate the transformation of the National Airspace System, which is one of the most complex systems for controlling commercial, military and general aviation aircraft in the world.  In this effort, SMART-NAS aims to explore and enable plug-and-play alternative concepts, technologies and architectures for deployment in the NAS.

Over the past seven years, NASA has trusted PrismTech’s superior software, service and expertise to meet a variety of program goals.

Vortex platforms were selected by NASA for SMART-NAS after an in-depth evaluation of the various data sharing platform options that are based on the Object Management Group®’s (OMG®) Data-Distribution Service™ (DDS™) standard.  DDS is a proven technology that can meet the stringent performance, availability, safety and robustness criteria imposed by mission-critical, highly distributed and real time systems, such as those found in air traffic control and air traffic management systems. Key to Vortex, however, is its functionality to extend DDS beyond embedded and LAN-based networks out to an intelligent real-time data exchange for Tactical Clouds to enable highly scalable system of systems solutions.

To accelerate the transformation of the entire NAS, proposed functions must be integrated, tested and fully validated before being deployed into NAS.  SMART-NAS aims to examine, in real-time, the robustness, stability and reliability of new approaches to the entire system or any of its parts by taking operational data such as weather conditions, flight plans, airports arrival rates and system constraints – to ensure safe and seamless operations from ground level to outer space.

Vortex optimally addresses the real-time information distribution and management challenges posed by high performance real-time data-processing systems.  Vortex OpenSplice is being used in numerous air traffic control and management systems throughout the world.

Further information about Vortex platforms is available from PrismTech’s website at: http://www.prismtech.com/vortex.

FACE listed Vortex OpenSplice as one of the 3rd-party tools for FACE Applications

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The Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium has added Vortex OpenSplice to its list of third-party tools for FACE applications.

PrismTech recently released its DDS Community Edition v6.7 that comes with a Free Open Source TSS aligned with the FACE Technical Standard that uses DDS as the underlying transport layer and is fully compatible and interoperable with the commercially supported Vortex OpenSplice V6.8

PrismTech’s TSS reference implementation provides a mapping-layer between the FACE Transport Services API and the standard OMG-DDS API. The new TSS implementation supports both C++ and Java Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and enables portable components to share and exchange data using DDS. PrismTech’s TSS is being made available under GNU lesser General Public License (LGPL) v3 and Apache V2.0 Open Source license terms.

 

Reflections on DDS at Undersea Defense Technology (UDT)

I’m writing this blog tonight whilst traveling home from exhibiting at the Undersea Defense Technology (UDT) conference in Bremen, Germany with my PrismTech colleagues Peter Steele and Gregg Shenton.

It’s always good to catch up with the latest innovations and tech in the naval and subsea industry – and of course the major suppliers were all in attendance.  A lot of interesting things were going on.

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UDT is a particularly appropriate event for PrismTech.  We have many customers in this industry, with DDS (the Data Distribution Service) already being widely applied and often even mandated by the standards bodies and organizations.  Our leading DDS implementation, Vortex OpenSplice has many successful naval deployments and a long history in this market.  Many people will know how its early version was initially designed to address the specific problem of moving data around a complex, real time, combat management system.  The middleware aspect was standardized to form the DDS specification, which of course addresses a lot of those problems – namely delivering time critical data to the applications that need it in an efficient, fault tolerant and scalable manner.

The benefits of DDS, though, are perhaps quite abstract, and for non-software developers probably initially difficult to appreciate.  Because of that, we wanted to provide a visual demonstration at the event that would be interesting for the passer-by yet allow them to relate to what the technology can provide.

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We came up with a mini simulation of a combat system whereby data from the raw environment is captured, processed and delivered to where needed for further analysis.  Our demo used a webcam to capture the raw environment – which in real terms could represent a radar, sonar or video system.  The demo then performed some local analysis, in our case some image processing to track specific colours as they move across the camera.  We had some different colored balls that people were encouraged to wave around (or if brave, juggle) in front of the webcam.  These moving colours were tracked, with their positions published into DDS.  We had another computer which subscribed to that data and presented it to a would-be operator on a mocked-up Blue Force Tracking system, i.e. naval symbols on a sea chart.  We were simulating how position and routes of other vessels and obstacles could be tracked within a networked system in real time.  Of course, DDS is even more valuable when you have to deliver the data to potentially hundreds of machines that might exist within a ship or vessel but there is only so much you can show on a stand!  Still, people appreciated the demo and we had some very interesting discussions.

On reflection, those discussions were generally centred around two key areas.  Firstly, how companies can simplify and optimize their own internal data communication systems.  They usually have some existing solution to deliver data around the network but they are often quite legacy and difficult to extend, enhance or deploy to different scenarios.  DDS is great for that purpose.  Secondly, we spoke about easy integration with other vendors in the naval supply chain.  DDS has strong yet evolvable typing that allows for the clear definition of what data is and represents, while also providing an interoperable wire protocol so applications can automatically discover each other and share data with little integration effort.

DDS at the Tactical Edge

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The Department of Defense’s (DoD) next generation “Third Offset” initiative will target promising technology areas, including robotics, autonomous systems, miniaturization, and big data, whilst also seeking to improve the military’s collaboration with innovative private sector enterprises.

The latest innovations in real-time data-centric network edge computing based on the Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard will be key to delivering on some of the key priorities.

A key DoD objective is to accelerate the adoption of cloud computing. The aim is to move from a state of duplication, cumbersome and costly application siloes to a much more cost effective and agile service environment that can rapidly respond to changing mission requirements. Cloud computing can enhance battlefield mobility through device and location independence while providing on-demand secure global access to mission data and enterprise services.

Whilst cloud computing carries data back to a central server for storage and analysis with resultant issues in bandwidth capacity, connectivity and latency common to hostile environments; new fog computing and Tactical Cloudlet technologies enable real-time analytics and other functions to be performed at the tactical edge of a network, right at the data source – for example soldiers on the battlefield. This will help enable smart autonomous systems to send, receive and process information when and where it is needed, so ensuring speedier and optimal mission-critical decision making.

Tactical Cloudlets are a means to make cloud services and processing available to mobile users by offloading computation to servers deployed on platforms closer to the users. Cloudlets leverage capabilities such as automatic discovery and VM based provisioning, combined with peer-to-peer communications. Tactical Cloudlets, fog and edge computing will impact the way that the defense community builds the next generation of C4SIR and related military simulation systems.

PrismTech’s Vortex is a proven DDS standards-based technology for efficient, ubiquitous, interoperable, secure and platform independent data sharing across network connected devices. Vortex naturally fits with the fog computing and Tactical Cloudlet paradigm and is the only fog-ready data-sharing infrastructure capable of meeting the needs of defense and aerospace companies – connecting soldiers, unmanned machines, devices and commanders in the field with the intelligence community, and helping to improve decision-making.

Read out latest white paper to find out more >>>

PrismTech and RTTS Extend Partnership to Provide Unparalleled Support to Developers of Combat and Battlefield Management Systems in India

DefensePrismTech™, a global leader in software platforms for distributed systems and RTTS (RealTime TechSolutions), a systems integration specialist to defense customers that need extreme levels of performance and reliability, said today they will extend their eight-year partnership. The companies will focus on delivering technology and services that simplify combat management system development and dramatically reduce development time.

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Over the past eight years, RTTS have developed their engineering, consulting and support teams to a high level of DDS expertise, allowing developers based in India to benefit from first line support in their own time zone.

“RTTS’s team now has over 150+ man years of experience with DDS which makes us unique in India,” said Raj Rajagopolan, Director, RTTS. “I am excited to continue to grow our business with the extension of our partnership with PrismTech.”

The Indian Government are committing to develop many new combat and battlefield management systems. PrismTech and RTTS’s extended partnership will see continued growth in the use of Vortex OpenSplice in these programs.

PrismTech’s Vortex OpenSplice is the leading (commercial and Open Source) implementation of the Object Management Group™’s (OMG™) Data Distribution Service (DDS) for Real-Time Systems standard. Vortex OpenSplice has been designed to optimally address the real-time information distribution and management challenges posed by high performance real-time data-processing systems.

Further information about Vortex OpenSplice is available from PrismTech’s website at: http://www.prismtech.com/vortex.

Vortex’s ‘out-of-this world’ performance enables mission to map the universe

PrismTech’s Vortex data connectivity platform powers LSST on its mission to survey the entire universe.

NASA’s discovery of an Earth-like planet 1,400 light-years away has been making headlines all around the world lately. The planet named Kepler-452b has characteristics that share Earth’s unique features that are essential to sustaining life- making it one of the biggest breakthroughs in today’s science of space exploration.

Thanks to the latest developments in modern telescopy; astronomers, researchers and scientists are now better positioned than ever to be able to search and find answers to the mysteries of the universe, including finding clues to the existence of life on other planets.

The next-generation of mega telescopes with huge mirrors and adaptive optics promise to advance the effort of exploring the world outside our planet Earth significantly.

The most exciting of these billion dollar telescope projects include:

The Thirty Meter Telescope (Hawaii) – This giant telescope will be the most advanced and capable ground-based optical, near-infrared observatory with a mirror size triple the diameter of any telescope in use today. This will enable scientists see farther and fainter objects clearer than ever before.

European Extremely Large Telescope (Chile) – Once completed, EELT will be the largest telescope on Earth with a mirror that stretches 39 meters across. It will generate images 13 times more light than today’s telescopes which will help find hints of exoplanets, dark energy and other mysteries within the universe.

Another one to join the world’s collection of giant telescopes is the Giant Magellan Telescope (Chile) which will house seven of today’s largest stiff monolith mirrors. Its unique design features will generate images that are 10 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.

James Webb Space Telescope – is the only space-based amongst the six mega telescope featured here. Surpassing the size of two other similar telescopes, this one triples the size of Hubble and Spitzer carrying a 6.5 meter mirror when fully unfolded. Its capacity will even produce longer wavelength and higher sensitivity compared to the Hubble.

Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope – Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (WFIRST-AFTA) – features a telescope with a 2.4-meter aperture and on-axis secondary mirror, which feeds two different instrument volumes containing the wide field and coronagraph instruments. It is expected to provide quality imaging of the skies over an area 100 times larger than Hubble.

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (Chile) – The LSST is the smallest in size amongst the six mega giant telescopes measuring 8.4 meter in diameter and weighs 6,000 pounds but it has extraordinary and advanced scope and speed. Using the world’s largest digital camera, taking 3.2 gigapixel images every 20 seconds to capture colourful, time-lapse videos of the sky – generating 30 terabytes of data each night, the LSST will create the first ever 3D map of the universe, showing more of the universe than humanity has seen looking through all of the previous telescopes combined.

“PrismTech is proud to be part of making history by helping create the first 3D map of the universe.”

Combining this enormous data-gathering machine is an equally-powerful data-sharing technology proudly provided by PrismTech. The award-winning data connectivity platform, Vortex was selected by the Association of Universities and Research in Astronomy (AURA) to support the demanding data management requirements of the LSST project. One of the major benefits of using Vortex is that LSST developed applications are not subjected to burden of data management tasks such as message interpretation and state management. To achieve amazing power the system needs, Vortex is key to providing reliable, scalable and time-critical data connectivity, enabling the data to be accessed by over 400 scientists and engineers worldwide in real-time.

Each of these new telescope facilities will be optimized for different areas of research to solve the deepest secrets of the universe such as understanding its evolution, solving the mysteries of the dark matter, finding other life and identifying other habitable planets.

With a surge in advancement in telescopy, the human race is moving closer to unlocking the mysteries of the universe. These are truly exciting times.

NASA selects PrismTech’s OpenSplice DDS to Help Make Holodeck Technologies a Reality

OpenSplice DDS provides high performance, real-time data sharing for leading edge simulation environments

Boston, MA, USA – January 23, 2014 – PrismTech™, a global leader in standards-based, performance-critical middleware, today announced that it is working with NASA with the aim of making Star Trek inspired holodeck technologies one step closer to becoming a reality.

Star Trek has provided an enormous complement of technologies that have amazed audiences for decades.  An important technology that served multiple purposes was the holodeck.  The holodeck was used as a data analysis environment (provided 3-D visualization of data/models/simulations), a communications device (created 3-D representation of the beings that were being communicated with), a training tool (provided crew members with simulated environments to train for missions), an engineering design tool (allowed crew members to create and manipulate 3-D models of objects piece by piece before they were fabricated), and as a recreation environment (simulated locations crew members could visit).

Although a holodeck developed using today’s technologies would not provide the same range and fidelity of capabilities as those provided by a Star Trek holodeck, the technologies available today would still allow the creation of a system that would still be tremendously beneficial.

NASA has started developing the concepts related to a holodeck system using today’s technologies and is investigating the benefits that it could provide to tele-presence, mission planning, and training activities.  Future improvements of this holodeck system using technologies that are currently being developed at research institutions (e.g. Claytronics) could one day provide the necessary technology augmentations to make Star Trek like holodecks a reality.

As part of the project, NASA required a middleware solution that allowed real-time, scalable and robust information exchange between different parts of the system.

OpenSplice DDS is the leading (commercial and Open Source) implementation of the Object Management Group™’s (OMG™) Data Distribution Service (DDS) for Real-Time Systems standard.  OpenSplice DDS has been designed to optimally address the real-time information distribution and management challenges posed by high performance real-time data-processing systems.

“OpenSplice was evaluated and selected for this Project because of its easy to use API, cross platform compatibility, high performance, and a rich suite of functionality,” said Frank Delgado, Engineer, NASA.

“This project has the potential of changing the way people interact with machines, visualize data and work together,” said Angelo Corsaro, CTO, PrismTech.  “This revolutionary and visionary Science Fiction inspired technology now has the prospect of becoming a reality. Knowing that OpenSplice DDS plays a key role in enabling this real-time data sharing is very exciting.”

Further information about OpenSplice DDS is available from PrismTech’s website at: http://www.prismtech.com/vortex/vortex-opensplice.