CORBA runs National Ignition Facility lasers

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., needed an automated object-oriented software application to run a research laser system. The found their answer with the ORBexpress object request broker developed by Objective Interface systems in Reston, Va.

Jun 1st, 1998

Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., needed an automated object-oriented software application to run a research laser system. The found their answer with the ORBexpress object request broker developed by Objective Interface systems in Reston, Va.

The laser system, at the National Ignition Facility at the Livermore lab, is part of the Integrated Computer Control System (ICCS), which uses the laser to produce an energy reaction similar to the ignition of a small sun.

"ICCS must be highly automated and robust, and must operate continuously around the clock," says John Woodruff, lead architect for supervisory software at Livermore. Designers are building the software control system with the Ada 95 programming language on a "modern object-oriented software framework that will be extensible and maintainable throughout the facility`s lifecycle," Woodruff says.

The software`s "reference domain concept allows us to isolate and use multiple versions of application software or operating systems," says Robert Carey, an ICCS computer scientist. "And it is visibly speedier than earlier versions, which is important in applications involving huge amounts of data."

Within the ORBexpress environment, Livermore programmers can develop code that is "reusable across multiple platforms, applications, and indeed other projects," Woodruff says. The ICCS is a $1.2 billion laser facility to be completed in 2003 to maintain the U.S. nuclear stockpile without resorting to underground testing.

The system will integrate more than 40,000 control points to manage 192 laser beamlines that deliver 2-megajoule pulses onto a BB-sized fusion fuel capsule in a pulse 25 nanoseconds long to simulate the fusion energy of a sun.

ORBexpress is a third-generation, CORBA 2.2-compliant object request broker. - J. M.

For more information on ORBexpress or Objective Interface Systems contact Allison Alberich by phone at 800-800-6477, by fax at 703-295-6501, by post at Objective Interface Systems, 1892 Preston Dr., Reston, Va., 20191-5448, by e-mail at info@ois.com, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.ois.com.

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