Python for air traffic control?

Russ 18k11tm001 at sneakemail.com
Mon Jul 2 22:06:57 CEST 2001


I agree that the quality of the design is paramount. BTW, I would like
to thank everyone who responded to my query. I should probably point
out that I am an aerospace engineer with some experience in C++ and
Tcl/Tk, but I am a Python beginner.

As for function prototyping, it seems to me that argument passing by
keyword in Python can be used to advantage. If all procedure arguments
are passed by keyword, there is much less chance that a procedure will
be called incorrectly, particularly when a procedure interface is
changed. Contrast that with C++. The C++ compiler will catch only some
of those kinds of errors. If I change the order of two ints in a
function interface, for example, the C++ compiler won't have a clue
that the interface has changed.

What would be very desirable for Python is some kind of static checker
that can guarantee BEFORE run time that all procedures are called
correctly. Does anyone know of anything that does that?

Also, can anyone give specific examples of Python being used in
safety-critical applications? Thanks.

"GerritM" <gmullerNoSpam at worldonline.nl> wrote in message news:<9hlfbn$6ok$1 at nereid.worldonline.nl>...
> Safety is first of all a determined by the quality of the design and
> secondly by the engineering skills of the developers. Most errors found
> during the developement lifecycle have little relationship with type
> checking or prototyping. Instead semantic errors and missing design aspects
> (such as performance, exception handling, concurrency etcetera) are the
> majority of errors.
> 
> The use of a clear and expressive language, such as Python, will help to
> decrease this category of errors. However, keep in mind that the quality of
> the architects and engineers is an absolute must for this type of
> application!
> 
> Regards Gerrit
> 
> --
> www.extra.research.philips.com/natlab/sysarch
> "Russ" <18k11tm001 at sneakemail.com> schreef in bericht
> news:bebbba07.0106291642.6c799d15 at posting.google.com...
> > I am thinking about using Python for a unique safety-critical
> > application in air traffic control. It will monitor a few hundred
> > aircraft for conformance to assigned trajectories, and it will
> > initiate an automatic alarm (for both controller and pilot) if an
> > aircraft deviates from its assigned trajectory and is in danger of a
> > collision. (The trajectory and tracking data will come from existing
> > C/C++ programs.) The software must be as simple, clean, and robust as
> > humanly possible. The default languages here are C/C++, but I am
> > toying with the idea of using Python instead. However, I am a bit
> > nervous about the lack of type checking and function prototyping,
> > among other issues. Is Python up to this task? Thanks for your
> > insights.



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