Astarte is intended to become a general object oriented development and user environment specifically aimed for scientific applications. Many scientific projects require complex software. Usually software developed for a certain research project cannot easily be applied or used by other projects. An expandable and adaptable environment especially designed for scientific applications, which provides a general basis to exchange and reuse scientific algorithms, could improve this situation. The general approach to the system should also make it suitable as a user environment.
While there are certain commercial packages for different scientific applications, they fail in various aspects to fulfil the needs for an academic environment. Some of these programs can quite efficiently be used as an intelligent formula collection, but they are fairly useless for exploring unknown areas. They are hardly expandable or can only be expanded in very limited ways. Additionally the commercial nature of these programs limit the use of any scientific application. From the view of the author software as well as knowledge in an academic environment is shared with other people for discussion; to spread it and improve the original idea very similar to the basic idea of free software. Yet even if a piece of software written in a commercial environment is freely distributed, only people who own a licence for the environment benefit from it, especially if modifications of the original code are required.
Astarte is supposed to become a free, modularised implementation platform for scientific applications. The core is intended to consist of a module handler keeping track of the various modules loaded which provide the data types and methods, a database storing the objects handled by the modules and a user interface handler which keeps track of various interfaces between the modules and the objects and the user. The functionality (modules) is strictly split, from the data (objects) and the user interface such that any of the parts can be replaced and modified as needed. A more detailed system design, probably together with a first implementation will be released at a later time.
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