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INAF - Istituto di Radioastronomia, Bologna
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Italy
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Abstract Reference: 30318
Identifier: P2.3
Presentation: Poster presentation
Key Theme: 2 Management of Scientific and Data Analysis Projects

DISCOS project status and evolution towards Continuous Integration (lightning talk)

Authors:
Bartolini Marco, Orlati Andrea, Righini Simona, Sergio, Poppo Buttu Marco, Migoni Carlo, Fara Antonietta

DISCOS (Development of the Italian Single-dish COntrol System) is the software package providing a control system to the three Italian radio telescopes (Medicina, Noto and SRT dishes). It is based on the Alma Common Software (ACS) framework, and currently consists of more than 500k lines of code. It is organized in a common core and three specific product lines, one for each telescope. We briefly describe this architecture in its core details. In the last two years we have supported the astronomical validation of the SRT radio telescope, leading to the opening of the first public call for proposals in late 2015. During this period, while assisting both the engineering and the scientific staff, we massively employed the control software and were able to test all of its features: in this process we received our first feedback from the users and we could verify how the system performed in a real-life scenario, drawing the first conclusions about the overall system stability and performance. The exposure to public utilization has highlighted the major flaws in our development and software management process, which had to be tuned and improved in order to achieve faster release cycles in response to user feedback, and safer deploy operations. In this regard we show how the introduction of testing practices, along with continuous integration, helped us to meet higher quality standards. We describe how the project evolved over the years and how software management best practices borrowed from the industry impact on the success of such a large scientific software project.