Tuesday Oct 18, 2011

JavaOne 2011 Recap

The 2011 JavaOne Conference, the sixteenth, had its own distinctive identity. The Conference theme, “Moving Java Forward,” coincided with the spirit that seemed to pervade the attendees – after more than a year-and-a-half of stewardship over Java, there was a clear and reassuring feeling that Oracle was doing its part to support Java and the Java community. Attendees that I spoke to felt that the conference was well put together and that the Java platform was being well served and indeed, moving forward.

For me, personally, it was a week in which my feet barely touched the ground as I rushed through tours from session to laptop to session, dashing off blogs and racing back to events, socials, awards ceremonies, BOF's and more.

The Keynotes

Start with the keynotes. Monday’s Technical Keynote debuted and open-sourced JavaFX 2.0, looked ahead to Java EE on the cloud and reminded us that there are about 6.5 billion people in the world and five billion Java Cards.

Tuesday’s Java Strategy Keynote offered Oracle's long-term vision for investment and innovation in Java.

Thursday’s Java Community Keynote while touched by the awareness of Steve Jobs’ passing, celebrated Java User Groups, Duke’s Choice and JCP award winners, and was capped off with the inimitable Java Posse.

Sessions, Sessions, and more Sessions

And then there were the sessions!

JavaFX 2.0, which was represented in more than 50 sessions, deserves special mention.

There was a lively panel discussion of the future of Java EE and the cloud.

Oracle’s Java Technology Evangelist Simon Ritter, in his session, showed off a fun gadget that worked via JavaFX 2.0.

Oracle’s Greg Bollella and Eric Jensen, gave a session titled “Telemetry and Synchronization with Embedded Java and Berkeley DB” that presented a vision of the potential future of Cyber-Physical Systems

Java Champion Michael Hüttermann explained best Agile ALM practices in a session.

Oracle’s Joseph Darcy took developers deeper into the heads and tails of Project Coin.

A JCP panel talked about JCP.next and the future of the JCP.

The JCP Awards gave recognition to some well-deserving people.

Oracle’s Kelly O’Hair gave a session on OpenJDK development best practices.

Oracle’s Terrence Barr showed developers how to get started with Embedded Java(http://blogs.oracle.com/javaone/entry/getting_started_with_embedded_java).

The Duke's Choice Awards reminded us of the sheer ingenuity of Java and Java developers.

Adam Bien, Java Champion, Java Rock Star and winner of Oracle Magazine’s ninth annual Editors' Choice award as Java Developer of the Year was all over the place.

Go to Parley’s.com to take in some of the great sessions.

Monday Oct 17, 2011

Greg Bollella and Eric Jensen on the Future of Cyber-Physical Systems with Embedded Java and Berkeley DB

At JavaOne 2011, Greg Bollella, Chief Architect for Embedded Java and Eric Jensen, Oracle Principal Product Manager and a former embedded developer, gave a session (25143) titled “Telemetry and Synchronization with Embedded Java and Berkeley DB”. Bollella has been a leader in the Embedded Java and real-time Java space since Java was first applied there.

The presentation offered a vision of the potential future of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), defined as, “a system featuring a tight combination and coordination between the systems computational and physical elements,” that was so powerful that even if the expectations turn out to be exaggerated, CPS technological change will, in a decade or so, significantly alter our lives in pervasive and unforeseeable ways. Bollella went so far as to say that CPS applications have the potential to dwarf the 20th Century IT Revolution.

He drew a contrast between where CPS applications are in use today and where they will be in use tomorrow.

Today: High confidence medical devices and systems; assisted living; process control (metal smelting, chemical plants, refineries); traffic control and safety; advanced automotive systems; energy conservation; environmental control (electric power, water resources, and communications systems); distributed robotics (telepresence, telemedicine); defense systems; manufacturing; smart structures; home automation; building automation; transportation (rail, air, water, road); retail systems (point of sale and monitoring); entertainment industry; mining; industrial control (power generation).

Tomorrow:  Distributed micro-power generation; highly advanced autonomous driver assistance features; networked autonomous automobiles; networked building automation systems; cognitive radio (distributed consensus about bandwidth availability); large-scale RFID-based servicing systems which could acquire the nature of distributed real-time control systems; autonomous air traffic control; advanced industrial and home networked robotics; intelligent traffic control systems; intelligent autonomous power (gas/electricity); distribution systems; networked personal medical monitoring devices.

A lot to take in – the technology all around us growing in intelligence! In 2009, 3.9 billion embedded processors were shipped – the number is expected to double to roughly 8 billion by 2015. Some predict that by 2025 the number will be well into the trillions. And currently, an estimated five times more embedded software is written than all other software today. If the reality is anywhere close to the projections and estimates, we are in for an interesting ride on some intelligent transport.

Telemetry

Bollella went on to discuss telemetry, a term frequently used by NASA and defined as a technology that “allows remote measurement and reporting of information”. Central to telemetry is the idea that the information does not persist on the device after measurement. Uses of telemetry in the automotive realm include streaming operational data from the vehicle to the manufacturer’s IT system for analysis, services for vehicle operator, failure prediction, and feedback to design teams on wear and failure rates. For industrial automation, telemetry is used for failure prediction and to process monitoring and reporting

Synchronization

Bollella explained that his use of synchronization is idiosyncratic to database technology and involves two synchronized databases containing the same set of data and relationships. Any change in one database appears (after some indeterminate delay) in the other. The information on the device persists on the device as long as it does on the backend

The use cases for synchronization are widespread and include:

•    Healthcare: Telemedicine, Home health systems, Mobile health practitioners
•    Industrial: Manufacturing, Mining
•    Energy: Smart Grid, Energy Management
•    Entertainment: TVs, set top boxes, automotive rear-seat entertainment
•    Distribution/Shipping: Everything from local deliveries to transoceanic cargo shipments
•    Government: Border Control, Resource Management, Customs, Immigration, Land Management, Forest Service, etc
•    Law Enforcement/Military: Police officers and soldiers in the field, also aboard Naval vessels
•    Retail: Real time inventory linked to point-of-sale transactions
•    Distribution/Shipping: Everything from local deliveries to transoceanic cargo shipments

Bollella acknowledged that serious development challenges remain. The current state of CPS connectivity is poor, with the vast majority being standalone. Given the highly connected world of social networking, mobile devices, and the web, this might be surprising. But it is important to consider that these are two technological areas have evolved in environments with different demands. CPS is focused on real-time, predictability, safety, security, and fault tolerance; the Web is a different matter.

CPS requires real-time with predictable control loops -- there are no standard communication protocols or Ethernet or “IP-over” functionality on devices. There are harsh environments, especially in spacecrafts, that can affect wired Ethernet, and there exists incompatibility of data formats and communication protocols with IT standards.

Perhaps of greatest importance, there has been little perceived need for CPS connectivity with devices. But this is changing rapidly, and with it, obstacles are being overcome as one of the major trends in embedded is connectivity development. Bollella admitted that there were a lot of unknowns going into the future, but the challenges are not insurmountable.

Oracle’s Eric Jensen took over and gave some details about the Oracle Berkeley DB and the Oracle Database Mobile Server, which he characterized as the best way to synchronize mobile or embedded applications that utilize SQLite or Berkeley DB with an Oracle backend. The embedded Java platform, when coupled with Berkeley DB and Database Mobile Server, has the ability to manage networks of embedded devices using existing enterprise frameworks in a way that could prove to be quite revolutionary

It will be interesting to look back in 10 years and see how much Cyber-Physical Systems have, or have not, changed the world.

Friday Aug 05, 2011

A Fresh Look at Embedded with Greg Bollella, Chief Architect, Embedded Java

In a new interview on OTN, Greg Bollella explores the rich potential of Java in the embedded space. He defines the embedded space as, “any device that includes a general-purpose processor and OS, plus a software execution environment, but which would not be identified as a computer by a layperson.” He points out that, increasingly, with cars, stereos, printers, cameras, TVs and DVDs, traffic signals controllers, planes, washing machines, refrigerators, and much more, it’s the software and not the hardware that matters the most.

Bollella believes that developers have only scratched the surface when it comes to Java for embedded and that Java’s multi-core support, security, multi-platform support, and networking strengths are of great value for embedded developers.

As he states in the interview, “To create new projects we want to create a VM and library set and some tools to entice the embedded developer to use Java for their next project. So that’s my mission.”

To integrate embedded devices into a networked world is no small task. From the interview:

“You need a fairly complex software architecture to integrate these devices into the networked world. Doing that from scratch is pretty tough. Oracle can provide the client side piece, the piece in the device, as well as the backend servers and the middleware. That, combined with a very small amount of engineering from the device manufacturers, can enable them to collect operational data on the device, time-stamp it, save it to the local data base, and have that data be automatically synced with the backend database and thus available for analysis and provision of new services for the device owner.”

Read the interview here.

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