Piecemeal Into Space: Reliability, Safety and Erlang Principles

Jul 27, 2017 · San Francisco, United States of America

Ever wondered if we can get Erlang, Elixir and other Beam languages in space? Do you see your code running on a Mars rover or leaving the solar system in a probe? Come and listen to Brian Troutwine's SF Erlang Factory keynote to find out! 

Abstract: Spacecraft computer systems are traditionally the domain of specialized programming. Space hardware is constrained in order to be durable in the extremes met in space, leading the computer environment itself to be peculiar. More, the high-cost of launch and critical nature of the launched equipment demands a rigorous safety-conscious approach to space software systems. Two things are relaxing this environment: increased flights of "cubesats" – very small satellites using off-the-shelf computing hardware – and cheaper commercial launches. The opportunity for Erlang to find its way into space grows.

In this talk we will discuss the principles of Erlang that map well onto the domain of spacecraft and satellite control by way of examples with historical control systems written in lower-level languages. We will also discuss the ways that Erlang must change to be more suitable in this domain.

Bio: Brian L. Troutwine is a software engineer with a focus on fault tolerance and critical systems. He is an engineer on the Infra team at Postmates. Prior to that, he worked with Erlang at both Rackspace and AdRoll. Brian likes things that go boom on failure. And giving talks on software which runs in space. 

Twitter: @bltroutwine

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