In-house team wins NASA's 'Software of the Year'

NASA has formally recognized a development team at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., for an in-house, money-saving aerodynamic analysis application.

The Tetrahedral Unstructured Software System won NASA's Software of the Year Award. The nine-member development team, seven of them from Langley, will split the $40,000 award.

Although commercial companies now offer fluid dynamics and aerodynamics analysis software'though none existed when the group first started the project'no one commercial application specifically suits NASA's needs, said Craig Hunter, a NASA aerospace engineer who helped develop the software. 'The main benefit is that it is an in-house code, and so it is easy for us to add capabilities and make modifications,' Hunter said.

Another benefit is cost. Langley uses the software on more than 300 computers. 'I don't know if we even could afford the licensing if we used the commercial software with that many computers,' Hunter said.

The program was originally written for the Irix operating system that runs SGI workstations. This year's award recognizes the work the team did to port the application to the Apple Macintosh platform. Hunter said Macs can provide nearly the same performance for this application at nearly an eighth of the hardware cost.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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