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Paper: The ALMA Software System
Volume: 314, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XIII
Page: 643
Authors: Schwarz, J.; Sommer, H.; Farris, A.
Abstract: Prospective users, instrumentation and location of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) all present its software developers with major challenges. The development of this software will be distributed among many institutes on two continents, mimicking the software itself, which will have to function in a distributed environment, spanning the 0.5-10 km baselines between antennas, as well as the much larger distances that will separate the array site at the 5000m-high Llano de Chajnantor, the Operations Support Facility in San Pedro de Atacama, the Santiago Central Office, and the ALMA Regional Centers in North America and Europe.

To make distributed development successful, we have defined interfaces that allow separated groups to work independently of their counterparts at other locations as much as possible. We have defined a common architecture and infrastructure, so that work done at one location is not unnecessarily duplicated at another, and that similar tasks are done in a similar way throughout the project. A single, integrated Archive attends to the needs of all subsystems for persistent storage, and hides details of the underlying database technology. The separation of functional from technical concerns is built into the system architecture through the use of the Container-Component model: application developers can concentrate on implementing functionality in runtime-deployable components, which in turn depend on Containers to provide them with services such as access to remote resources, transparent serialization of value objects to XML, logging, error-handling and security. The resulting middleware, which forms part of the ALMA Common Software (ACS), is based on CORBA and XML.

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