[Pipet Devel] Open DX as a loci skeleton?

Harry Mangalam mangalam at home.com
Fri Feb 11 18:38:02 EST 2000

Hi Gary,
> I mentioned IBM's Data Explorer back in the fall.  It is a very
> sophisticated and powerful data visualization environment.

My apologies - I must have been asleep (or just ignoring everything that
wasn't necessary to my continued survival at the time...)

> >
> > It's a client/server visual programming environment that encapsulates some
> > of the ideas that have been flowing on this channel (altho it's not
> > Python-based).  However, it does have a modularity and architecture that
> > looks looks a lot like Loci, and since it's Open Source, I wonder if it
> > couldn't be mined to exploit the functionality that Loci needs.
> This is very true!  If you go visit the Detailed Description page:
> http://www.research.ibm.com/dx/dxDetailedDescription.html
> you'll find that OpenDX's architecture and Loci's architecture are
> virtually identical.  A good example of convergent evolution ;-)
> Here are just some of the striking similarities:
> "The client process is the graphics user interface and it is always
> operate on a workstation. The server process does all of the computation;
> it may reside on the same of different workstation"
> "The server is controlled via the data flow executive, which determines
> what tasks need to be executed base upon user requests and schedules
> their execution."
> "The executive accepts a well-defined protocol (a script language), which
> the user interface generates based upon input it receives. The executive
> can be operated independently of the user interface via the
> scripting/programming language."

Yup - that's about what appealed to me as well.

> Considering that Loci's and OpenDX's architectures are so closely aligned,
> and that we have yet to hammer out the details of the 'executive', I think
> we would be wise to take a peek at their code.

So I'm not entirely in left field :) or if I am, at least Gary's standing
next to me.

What remains to be seen (or at least understood, from my end) is whether or
how the servers can be tied into a distributed system that is as
'self-aware' as what has been proposed for Loci.  (He Wildly Waves the
Not-A-CORBA-Expert flag)  I'm wondering if this awareness might be mediated
by a CORBA layer - Gary - do you know if there is a CORBA component to the
DX communication layer?  There doesn't appear to be from a cursory rip thru
the docs, but even if there isn't, that might be the key component that
Loci (or NCGR) could contribute.  I just posted a note to the DX list about

However, Doug Schmidt (who coincidentally works at UCI, a few minutes from
me) has put together an Open Source Adaptive Communications Environment
(ACE - http://www.cs.wustl.edu/~schmidt/ACE-overview.html ) that uses CORBA
for creating distributed computing environments.  The combination of the
two might be what's needed.


Harry J Mangalam -- (949) 856 2847 -- mangalam at home.com

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