Open-Source Software at the Aerodynamics Laboratory

Steve describes a typical aircraft experiment and the open-source software involved.
The Future

The first thing on my to-do list is to finish moving the Perl code I've developed off our last remaining SGI and onto a dual-processor Intel/Linux system. Although getting the programs running in their current form is a trivial task, I'm using the opportunity to refactor all of the code. There is also one software tool that is partially developed and needs to be finished: the user interface to the model attitude control system. In addition, we are considering changing our data file format from an arcane system developed in-house to one using XML. This will certainly result in the need for more new code.

Peering further into the future, I hope to have the time to develop some VRML applications that create dynamic 3-D graphic simulations of the models and probes in our wind tunnels, with superimposed load and pressure data. Also, our instrumentation group is investigating using embedded/real-time Linux for some of our data-acquisition needs.

With all of this work still to be done, I have no doubt that open-source software will continue to play an increasingly important role in the day-to-day operation of the Aerodynamics Laboratory.


Steve Jenkins is the senior programmer/analyst at the Aerodynamics Laboratory of the Institute for Aerospace Research, National Research Council of Canada and has over 20 years experience with data processing in aerospace facilities.