Periodic Reporting for period 2 - HERMES (High Efficiency Real-Time Multithreading Engine for Space applications)
Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2020-03-31
The complexity of obtaining a proper stream of data (usually coming from different satellites/organizations) valid for any of the described applications is overwhelming. Space involved companies, and especially SMEs, need accurate models of all elements involved, deep experience of Earth observation and, most importantly, the right technology to use or build the software they need.
HERMES is a software development ecosystem (HERMES SDK plus applications, plugins and services) that allows building quickly and efficiently software systems for the space industry. It proposes a complete renewal of the core software used to manage satellite data acquisition functions through innovative methods of general purpose GPU processing, incorporating much of the latest innovations in hardware and software, in particular regarding visualization and processing with graphics hardware.
We want to transform Taitus Software from a regular software factory producing solutions upon customer requests, to a product-based company offering an advanced, competitive and evolving portfolio of products with intellectual property owned by Taitus.
This strategy is much more scalable and long-term, and is also realistic thanks to the consolidated experience gained in the past years with our products baseline and user-base.
To achieve HERMES project goals, the following actions have been implemented:
- Porting our current codebase to make it multiplatform covering all operating systems in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors to increase our potential.
- Create a new ecosystem based on API
- Executing an international commercialization plan where we need to rebrand our company from a bespoken software development services provider to a vertical specific cloud-solutions provider for our current customers and position ourselves as the leading provider of these services to private companies that are about to consume satellite data to perform their business actions. To maximize penetration of HERMES, we will work with our current client network, extending the portfolio of services already offered to the entire aerospace industry, at very competitive prices .
1. HERMES visual identity and website development to communicate the aim of the project, its results and progress: https://www.HERMES-taitus.eu with links to and from the TAITUS website (https://www.taitussoftware.com) is regularly updated with news and events on the project. Internet presence has been created through specific blogs and groups in main social media.
2. Physical and electronic marketing material for press releases have been created, such as posters, editing of promotional docs, mailing and dissemination pack for widespread use, online communication tools, brochures.
3. To successfully exploit the results of our innovation the following actions have been developed:
- Reaching target end-users with marketing campaigns and commercial presentations at trade shows.
- Establishing business relationships and partnerships with potential customers;
- Populating a CRM to manage, update, sort commercial information efficiently.
- Presenting a promoting new product developed during the project.
The porting activity (WP3) carried out can be grouped in 2 main areas:
1. Substitution of Windows proprietary foundation classes with multi-platform equivalents in the whole Core libraries baseline. We used as much as possible the C++ standard libraries as well as the Boost libraries to avoid dependencies from 3rd party cross-platform frameworks. The ported Core libraries have been integrated into our main product, SaVoir, and they have been delivered to our clients across the world.
2. Transition from vector to raster technology to perform geometrical calculations. We passed from a vector representation of the GIS elements to a raster representation that allowed us to improve the performance of the computation engine. We also increased the robustness of the acquisition plan generation engine which has been made independent from the complexity of the input areas of interest. Work on porting is still ongoing.
The HERMES SDK development (WP4) has been steered from the original path towards a web-oriented approach, following the needs we collected from our old, new, and potential customers during the many space industry events we attended during the project. As a results a new product “SatX Online” has been developed.
- The entire API and the associated documentation (WP5), including the user/developer guides, a complete set of examples (training packages), and all the necessary web-based resources to provide the best user and developer experience to our clients (forums, newsletters, FAQs, technical support online, wikis, etc.) were uploaded online and continuously updated in parallel to the development activities. In addition, we have added a PowerPoint presentation and some online videos to explain how HERMES works.
HERMES aims to incorporate into the space & satellite industries the latest technological innovations, in hardware and software, in particular the use of GPUs to process visualization, simulation and similar data commonly used in space applications. It is based on careful optimization of data analysis according to its type, which determines if it will be best processed either by the CPU or the GPU. The main strengths are:
HERMES is GPGPU computing powered. Mathematical and physical models, as well as algorithms have been architected to exploit parallelism, boosting processing time.
Time saving translates to strong reduction in processing time (hence also producing savings both in power consumption and personnel salaries).
A unique platform that provides the most advanced software tools to manage the core functions needed in all actions related to satellite planning, cutting down development and maintenance costs but also reducing time to market, saving our clients hundreds of thousands of euros annually.
Since the work plan for data acquisition can be done in near real-time, it can also be easily changed and improved, reducing the response time needed to cope with unforeseen or uncontrollable events and boosting planning capacity. Opportunities that would otherwise be lost due to slow data processing can now be taken into consideration, which can be critical in sectors such as early disaster warning systems.