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Harro Verkouter
Offline Software Engineer @ JIVE
Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe

Since I was a young boy I was fascinated with the universe. I studied astronomy at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands but found that I liked programming computers more. After a short sidestep programming navigational software in C on Windows 3.11 and 95 I got my current position as software developer in a radio-astronomical institute. Now I've got two of my top interests combined in one job. Since I started this position 15 years ago I have mainly programmed C, C++ and used many other (scripting) languages, wrote a Linux device driver for a DSP-based expansion card, wrote embedded code for a tiny CPU (running on an FPGA). I developed an application for real time processing and high speed data transmissions (order of Gbit/s) of over global network paths in heavily multithreaded C++ with added Intel SSE2 instructions written in assembler. Since about a year and a half we have started to write software in Erlang as well because it fitted the bill nicely for our newest project - driving custom built FPGA based hardware for radio astronomical applications.

Harro Verkouter is Giving the Following Talks
Erlang in global radio astronomy - monitoring and controlling custom built hardware at the bit level

In radio astronomy - the field I work in - data processing requirements are so large we have to build custom hardware to actually do it. In the talk I would like to introduce the observation technique we currently use, very long baseline interferometry, and the hardware that is currently being developed for expanding its capabilities. Feeding and controlling this FPGA powered device will require a distributed system also capable of controlling embedded devices remotely over a network. A primary objective was to produce a system where the hardware developers and VHDL programmers (not generally Erlang savvy programmers) should also be able to use the code to easily interact with their logic code running on the FPGAs.

Talk objectives: I would like to show that Erlang is really good at what it was written for: interacting with (embedded) systems, dealing with binary data, running a distributed system for monitoring and controlling it.

Target audience: Technology oriented people with an interest in low level programming or global high-speed network connections being used in a real time radio astronomical application. Talk may contain traces of physics.