Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/16/lohan_code/

UK tech biz grinding to halt as Reg space programme sucks in talent

Code biz kingpin volunteers his firm's services

By Lester Haines

Posted in SPB, 16th July 2012 10:47 GMT

The Special Projects Bureau is raising a few pints of foaming real ale today in honour of Escher Technologies, which has kindly offered to probe the intimate inner workings of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project.

Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphicThe Aldershot-based company "researches, develops and delivers tools for the efficient construction of provably-correct software", and since head honcho David Crocker is a fan of El Reg's ballocket tomfoolery, he got in touch to see if his company's services might be of any use.

David, a paid-up member of ale campaigners CAMRA, told us: "With PARIS and now LOHAN, The Register has demonstrated how a modest budget can be enough to push back the boundaries of technology, by applying classic British innovation.

"We are delighted to be contributing our skills towards this giant leap towards getting the UK space launch programme off the ground again, and we look forward to discussing the details over a pint or two of real ale."

Splendid stuff. Specifically, David and his team are keen to have a shufti at any mission-critical software we might be developing, using for example the Escher C Verifier.

David told us: "Escher Technologies' software verification tools use automated theorem proving to demonstrate mathematically that software is robust and meets its specifications for all inputs - or (alternatively!) to highlight problem areas. The tools are used in developing software for airborne systems, gas detection and other safety-critical applications."

As LOHAN fans will know, reader Neil Barnes is currently working selflessly on a barometric altimeter, which is one of the possible methods for triggering the Vulture 2's rocket motor at a predetermined altitude.

Of course, we're not saying there's anything wrong with Neil's coding, but there's no harm in having an extra pair of eyes giving it the once-over, or for that matter examining any other code we might develop for LOHAN.

Suffice it to say, the cockles of our hearts are well and truly warmed by the voluntary input of Escher Technologies, and indeed the aforementioned Mr Barnes, The Southampton Uni postgrad Vulture 2 design team and our various SPB volunteers, without whom there would be no British space programme. ®

Further LOHAN resources:

LOHAN - A Special Projects Bureau production in association with...

  • 3T RPD logo
  • University of Southampton logo
  • Applied Vacuum Engineering logo
  • Escher Technologies logo: Tools for the efficient construction of provably-correct software