New control system software for the Hobby-Eberly Telescope

Rafferty, Tom

The Hobby-Eberly Telescope at the McDonald Observatory is undergoing a major upgrade to support the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) and to facilitate large field systematic emission-line surveys of the universe. An integral part of this upgrade will be the development of a new software control system. Designed using modern object oriented programming techniques and tools, the new software system uses a component architecture that closely models the telescope hardware and instruments, and provides a high degree of configuration, automation and scalability. This poster covers the overall architecture of the new system, plus details some of the key design patterns and technologies used. This includes the utilization of an embedded python scripting engine, the use of the factory method pattern and interfacing for easy run-time configuration, a flexible communication scheme, the design and use of a centralized logging system, and the distributed GUI architecture. The project is currently well into the implementation phase, with end-to-end systems running a combination of actual and simulated hardware. Installation and commissioning at McDonald Observatory is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2011 with science observations to start in early 2012.

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