Roundtable "Potential of OSS for ATM" - Jointly organized by CALIBRE and EUROCONTROL
Previous 7th December 2005, EUROCONTROL-EEC, Bretigny-Sur-Orge, France Next










Short bios



Revisiting CHIPS as an Open Source Project

by Jean-Dominique Frayssinoux, ATM consultant


The goal of putting CHIPS as OSS would be to distribute a set of ATM tools on Internet web sites. Users who want to download the software would fill in a form so that it would be easy to establish contacts. Similar to Red Hat, the next levels of support would not necessarily be free of charge. Once contact has been established with these ATM organizations, it would be possible to offer services, technical demonstrations, and show ATM expertise.

The CHIPS program was developed in EUROCONTROL Bretigny six years ago. It's a small program, between 10 and 20 thousand lines of C++ code. It's easy to install on a portable, it runs under Red Hat Linux. It can run as stand alone, using a file for its input data, or it can be connected to live radar data and ADS data.

Making CHIPS an open source project involves first releasing it under an open source license, with executable and source code available on a web site. Once contact is established, do presentations on CHIPS, and propose maintenance, support, and new development on the software.

The CHIPS Problem Solver is a tool that provides assistance to air controllers to enable aircraft conflict resolution. The Controller examines an air situation using Route window, Altitude window or Speed window. CHIPS displays no-go zones. The Controller evaluates one modification of one trajectory. CHIPS calculates new no-go zones after modification of this trajectory. The controller confirms new trajectory after evaluation of the trajectory modification.

CHIPS can accept data from multiple sources. It can handle live feeds from Primary, SSR, CMB radar stations, ADS sources, and flight plan information. It can handle a live connection with a tracker (ARTAS).

Further development could include improvements to current displays, adding a 3D display, comparing with ACAS information, and comparison with other conflict probe tools.

In conclusion:


from 12'30" to 23'34" (11'04")

M. Bourgois: Jean-Dominique Frayssinoux had contacted EUROCONTROL a year ago to be able to put this software, a research tool initially developed for EUROCONTROL, on a web site, to show his ATM expertise and to make it available for all persons and companies interested. It serves our public role as well. Now I have a question. You propose to do extensions to the CHIPS software. Is that your intention to put them back into open source?

J-D. Frayssinoux: Yes, it is always possible to distribute new improvements to anyone interested in developing it. This would give them opportunities to show ATM expertise.

J. Feller: Can you tell more about the licence?

J-D. Frayssinoux: In this case, the licence is not yet finalized.

J-P. Florent: How do you plan to market this software? Do you think that a web site is sufficient to bring people together around the project?

J-D. Frayssinoux: We think so, but this is one of the first experiences of that type. The first step is to put the executable binary files and the source files on the Internet. The main advantage of the Internet is that anyone interested in the whole world could download the software.

P. Crebassa: We have experience with this question, because the former CENA had made available a graphic tool and also the Digistrip, an advanced HMI tool based on a tactile screen. We experienced that we were contacted by many companies, not only companies specialized in ATC. According to these two experiences, it looks quite efficient. But it has to be pointed out that we were not a private company looking for benefits. We were more focused on community aspects.

R. Schreiner: In our experience, OSS can be a wonderful marketing tool. Since we are a very little company, normally big companies will not talk to us. However, in the open source process, it is easier to get support contracts, and then the project grows and grows. OSS is a very good entry point to the big players.

M. Bourgois: That's promising!

O. Robert: CHIPS seems to be interesting, but since it is highly specialized, don't you think that it will be difficult to build a community around it? Just putting it on a web site is not enough.

J. Feller: I agree that a community is not just a matter of building a dot com. However, I strongly disagree on the first comment: that because it is a sub-component of larger system, that is works against open source; it actually works in favour of it. In the early free software open source history, most early open-source successes were small components of bigger systems. I do not think small specialized functionalities work against you.

M. Bourgois: The argument being that it is a very specialized tool. Could you recombine it to widen its use?

J-D. Frayssinoux: It is too early to answer such a question. I must start first to distribute it.

J. Seifarth: It has to have a trajectory prediction engine in it. ;-)

J-D. Frayssinoux: Indeed, but the TP needs first of all a flight plan information.

J-L. Hardy: In order to facilitate the communication, I would like to say that Ollivier Robert is one of the main actors of the FreeBSD project.

O. Robert: Indeed, I am here not so much as a EUROCONTROL person, but mostly as a software guy. I have been playing with software for more than 15 years.

Salient points

JD Frayssinoux

"Distributing open source software is a good opportunity to be in contact with ATM organizations or ATM companies in the whole word."

Abstract Slides MP3 OGG
abstract slides MP3 OGG