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Visualizing emerging software systems

Luijken, E.F. (2017) Visualizing emerging software systems.

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Abstract:This report is written as a part of the bachelor assignment for the Industrial Design program at the University of Twente. The assignment was offered by Thales, a high-tech defense company located in Hengelo. Thales builds different products that have defense purposes. The bachelor assignment focusses on the radar systems. The generated solution needs to be applicable for different software systems. Which defines the title of the bachelor assignment ‘Visualizing Emerging Software Systems’. Thales is currently developing a dynamic radar system, which needs to be visualized. Before the explanation of the dynamic radar system can start, the current radar system needs to be clear. After the explanation of the dynamic radar system the motivation behind the research is given. The goal which the research should produce is presented next. Finally, the content of the report will be shown briefly. Current radar system Radar systems deliver radar images, these images can be used in marine ships for example. To generate the radar images, a lot of applications (software programs) are needed. This results in the fact that one computer is not capable of running all these applications simultaneously. Therefore, multiple computers are combined to reach the necessary computing power. An application consists of multiple modules, smaller software programs that together form the applications, which run on the available computers. These computers are called CPUs (Central Processing Units). The CPUs are connected with each other through networks. In the final radar image, all received information is combined and merged to one image. The current radar system of Thales uses a fixed composition of the modules on the CPUs. Which means that the location of running modules is predefined. The dynamic system The new radar system is going to make use of a non-fixed composition. Such a system is called a dynamic system. The location of the modules is, in this case, not predefined and the modules can run anywhere where there is enough processing space and computing power available on the CPUs. The dynamical system can withstand hardware failures. Because other available CPUs can take over the modules of failing CPUs, to enable the system to keep on working. This ‘take over’ can be done without completely shutting down the system first. The radar system can easily be scaled by adding or removing CPUs. Which contributes to the flexibility of the dynamic radar system in contrast to the current radar system. The motivation The dynamic radar system is still in testing phase and appears to be really complex. Which makes it difficult to oversee what is happening within the system even for the experts working at Thales. The failures that occur in the dynamic system are harder to trace and analyse. These problems should be able to be solved by developing an overview of the dynamic system. Which has led to the bachelor assignment. The goal The goal of the bachelor assignment is to provide a visualization that makes the dynamical behaviour of the dynamic radar system more insightful for the expert user of Thales, which will generate a better test environment. Since the visualization is related to complex (dynamic) systems (and not solely radar system) the assignment will include a generalization (called INAETICS). The generalization will form a methodology that provides a solution for future visualizations of emerging software systems. Report content The first step was analyzing the current system and its facilities, the new dynamic system and the used system architecture (INAETICS). Research has been done on the target group, the visualization methods, dynamic visualizations and the current visualization market. During the analyses and the generalization of the first ideas, the extent of the assignment became more clear. To tackle all questionable aspects of the current system was going to be impossible within the available time. For that reason, the decision is made to focus on the visualization of the dynamical behavior of the dynamic radar system. The current system can still function as resource for the new visualization, which has been able to show the dynamical behavior. The two best ideas were refined to concepts and worked out for paper prototyping. From the paper prototype meetings and based on the developed requirements the ‘Exploded View’ concept has been chosen. This concept showed more extendibility, intuitiveness and feasibility. The final design formed a solution that can be generalized by using the INAETICS architecture. The nomenclature used in the INAETICS architecture were included in the visualization. Additionally the new term ‘resources’ is added. The Layers of the final design, are formed from the basics of the INAETICS architecture. With the relation between the INAETICS architecture and the final design, the developed solution is no longer a fit-for purpose solution (specified for one problem/system) but can be used for domain-related system visualizations. Finally the whole design process developed a solution that can be used for multiple domain-related systems visualizations. For Thales the final user-test still have to be performed and the visualization still need to be implemented in the work environment.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:20 art studies
Programme:Industrial Design BSc (56955)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/73854
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