Software

Embedded Databases: Data Management for Real- Time and Embedded Systems

The term embedded database was coined in the 1980s to mean a database management system (DBMS) that is embedded into an application, in contrast to large central databases (nowadays, usually client/server DMBSs a la Oracle). The first embedded databases had little or nothing to do with embedded systems, which were largely 8-bit, or possibly 16-bit, devices that performed a very specific function. Any data processing requirements were promoted to a higher layer in the system architecture. Embedded systems, like all other facets of computing, have matured and gained faster (32-bit) processors, memory, and more complexity. This has further confused conversations about embedded systems and embedded databases. Today, the term embedded database encompasses databases embedded into software applications, as well as the more modern client/server database design (although embedded client/several varieties are much smaller than their enterprise-level DBMS cousins such as Oracle or DB2). In fact, while embedded databases comprise a sizeable chunk of the overall database market, they show remarkable diversity in important respects such as programming interfaces, storage modes, and system architecture. This article examines some of these differences to help in choosing the right embedded database system for a given project.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Software, Architecture, Embedded software, Data management
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Advanced Hardware-in-the-Loop Sensor Simulation

AFRL researchers and their counterparts at CG2, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Quantum3D, Inc., are collaborating through a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to develop advanced scene generation techniques that support algorithm development and testing for the Missile Defense Agency's nextgeneration missile sensors. Radiance Technologies, one of the CG2 team's key project participants, is adapting and optimizing government-furnished scene generation software and algorithms for use on the contract.

Posted in: Briefs, Software
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Dynamic Air Battle Planning

An air tasking order (ATO) implements air operations supporting the joint force commander's campaign by assigning aircraft and munitions to targets and specifying the timing and grouping of air missions. Currently, creating an ATO is a routine, but manually intensive process that underutilizes the skills of the Master Air Attack Plan (MAAP) chief and his or her team. The current ATO creation software employs constraint-based linear programming and indicates only if a proposed mission is valid; it does not identify whether the ATO is the optimal plan given the MAAP team's objectives, target list, and available inventories of aircraft and munitions. Software engineers from 21st Century Technologies (Austin, Texas) are developing two products— ATO-Link and ATO-Stream—to automate and optimize the ATO creation process, shorten the ATO development cycle to minutes, and reduce mundane planning work. AFRL's Small Business Innovation Research program is administering both project efforts.

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Computational Model of a Plasma Actuator

Controlling subsonic aerodynamic flow through the use of plasma actuators is an active area of research in both the Air Force (AF) and the general scientific community. A typical plasma actuator consists of two offset electrodes separated by a dielectric material (see Figure 1). Plasma forms as the voltage difference between the electrodes ionizes the surrounding gas. The electric field can then direct the charged particles in the plasma to transfer momentum to the surrounding, neutral (nonionized) air. Most of this momentum transfer occurs as a result of particle collisions. Experiments have demonstrated the ability of plasma actuators to reattach separated airflow at high angles of attack (see Figure 2), as well as to induce flow movement in an initially stationary air mass.1,2,3,4,5

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Unified Flow Solver

A variety of gas flow problems are characterized by the presence of rarefied and continuum domains. In a rarefied domain, the mean free path of gas molecules is comparable to (or larger than) a characteristic scale of the system. The rarefied domains are best described by particle models such as Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC); or, they involve solution of the Boltzmann kinetic equation for the particle distribution function. The continuum flows are best described by Euler or Navier-Stokes equations in terms of average flow velocity, gas density, and temperature and are solved by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) codes. The development of hybrid solvers combining kinetic and continuum models has been an important area of research over the last decade. Potential applications of such solvers range from high-altitude flight to gas flow in microsystems.

Posted in: Briefs, Software
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Geo*View

Visualization of geospatially correct, remotely sensed data is a key element of many government and commercial applications. It enables a user to analyze and assess ground activities and other conditions of interest. Because remotely sensed data can include a diversity of data types reflecting many different data formats, users may experience difficulty visualizing and interpreting these varying data types and formats due to data structure complexity. In addition, important supplemental information often accompanies the data. This supplemental information—or metadata— may include pertinent information of significant value to the user with respect to where, when, and how data collection occurred. Whereas some applications require metadata to support geospatial analysis functions such as positioning and measurement, many others are unable to interpret such metadata and it may thus go unnoticed. Multiband data and motion imagery further compound the task of visualization with spectral components and complex video streams interlaced with other geospatial information.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Data acquisition and handling, Imaging
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A Software Development Process for Small-Scale Embedded Systems

Developing software for small-scale embedded applications is different from developing large-scale software applications. Large-scale applications use commercially available ‘one fits all’ software development solutions that are difficult to scale downward and usually miss the desired process goals. In many cases, developing a small-scale software application development process within an existing corporate environment is quicker, less expensive, and results in superior developer productivity and product quality.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Software, Embedded software, Product development
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