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Object-Oriented Hierarchical Tool for Large-Scale Development
Phone: (505) 269-0590
We propose to develop a novel and ambitious tool for large-scale development: a fourth-generation computer language (4GL) based upon an object-oriented generalization of the hierarchical block diagram paradigm, with powerful integrated simulation capabilities. Developers would assemble a prototype in a connect-the-blocks visual programming environment, test and evaluate it via simulation, then iteratively refine it until it is ready to be ported to the target environment. The simulation would then become a tool for training, trouble-shooting, and "maintenance", i.e. further iterative refinement. The connect-the-blocks approach facilitates system evolution and incremental integration. Previous tools have taken this same general approach, but have been successful in only a few narrow application domains, e.g. digital controls, circuit design, and signal processing, because they are too restrictive. Our tool would be enormously more flexible, extensible, and programmer-friendly, making it useful for any application domain. It would also serve well as the foundation for a variety of domain-specific tools, making it easy to use them in combination. The tool's simulation capabilities would also be useful outside the context of development per se, e.g. for constructing interactive virtual environments, and model-based decision making for autonomous systems. Such a tool is applicable through-out the public and private sectors in the design and analysis and implementation of large hardware and software systems. The tool will standardize and reduce the risks of such efforts.
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