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Proceedings Paper

Experience with a new approach for instrument software at Gemini
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Paper Abstract

Gemini Observatory is using a new approach with instrument software that takes advantage of the strengths of our instrument builders and at the same time better supports our own operational needs. A lightweight software library in conjunction with modern agile software development methodologies is being used to ameliorate the problems encountered with the development of the first and second-generation Gemini instruments. Over the last two years, Gemini and the team constructing the software for the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) have been using an agile development process to implement the Gemini Instrument Application Interface (GIAPI) and the highlevel control software for the GPI instrument. The GPI is being tested and exercised with the GIAPI, and this has allowed us to perform early end-to-end testing of the instrument software. Early in 2009 for the first time in our development history, we were able to move instrument mechanisms with Gemini software during early instrument construction. As a result of this approach, we discovered and fixed software interface issues between Gemini and GPI. Resolving these problems at this stage is simpler and less expensive than when the full instrument is completed. GPI is currently approaching its integration and testing phase, which will occur in 2010. We expect that utilizing this new approach will yield a more robust software implementation resulting in smoother instrument integration, testing, and commissioning phases. In this paper we describe the key points of our approach and results of applying the new instrument API approach together with agile development methodologies. The paper concludes with lessons learned and suggestions for adapting agile approaches in other astronomy development projects.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 July 2010
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 7740, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy, 77401R (19 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.857889
Show Author Affiliations
Arturo Núñez, Gemini Observatory (Chile)
Shane Walker, Gemini Observatory (Chile)
Stephen Goodsell, Gemini Observatory (United States)
Jennifer Dunn, National Research Council Canada (Canada)
Kim Gillies, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7740:
Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy
Nicole M. Radziwill; Alan Bridger, Editor(s)

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