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19 July 2010 Faking it for pleasure and profit: the use of hardware simulation at AAO
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Traditionally, AAO tasks controlling hardware were able to operate in a simulation mode, simply ignoring the actual hardware and responding as if the hardware were working properly. However, this did not allow a rigorous testing of the low-level details of the hardware control software. For recent projects, particularly the replacement of the control system for the 3.9m AAT, we have introduced detailed software simulators that mimic the hardware and its interactions down to the individual bit level in the interfaces. By having one single simulator task representing the whole of the hardware, we get a realistic simulation of the whole system. Communications with the simulator task are introduced just above the driver calls that would normally communicate with the real hardware, allowing all of the hardware control software to be tested. Simulation can be partial, only simulating those bits of the hardware not yet available This allows incremental software releases that demonstrate full functioning of complete aspects of the system before any hardware is available, and supports a rigorous 'value-added' approach for tracking the software development process. This was particularly successful for the telescope control system, and has been used since for other projects including the new HERMES spectrograph.
© (2010) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
K. Shortridge and M. Vuong "Faking it for pleasure and profit: the use of hardware simulation at AAO", Proc. SPIE 7740, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy, 774008 (19 July 2010);


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