CERN was honoured by Sun Microsystems at the 2008 JavaOne Conference in May, with the presentation of a gold Duke's Choice Award for the entire collection of Java applications that CERN has developed for the installation and operation of the LHC. James Gosling (inventor of Java and Sun Microsystems vice-president) presented the award to Derek Mathieson (IT department) who was at JavaOne to collect the award on behalf of CERN.

As a Duke's Choice Award winner, CERN was given the opportunity to show some examples of its Java development in the exhibition hall during the week-long conference. Matthias Braeger (TS department) and Andrew Short (IT) staffed the booth with Mathieson, answering questions about the work of CERN from many of the 15,000 conference attendees.

Derek Mathieson also participated in James Gosling's keynote presentation, where he gave a live demonstration of four Java applications to an estimated audience of 10,000 Java developers.

The first application demonstrated was EDH, which is known to most CERN personnel. "CERN's administration, as part of its Advanced Information Systems project, was an early adopter of Java technology with our first production code deployed more than 10 years ago", explained Mathieson. EDH currently consists of 1 million lines of Java, covering 50 procedures with more than 11,000 active users.

The next application was CERN's Technical Infrastructure Monitoring (TIM) application. This tool was developed in the TS department – currently maintained by Braeger – for monitoring CERN's technical infrastructure. More than 34,000 measurement channels are managed by the application, with the results collected and displayed on operators' consoles via a Java Swing application. The tool enables operators to monitor critical systems, such as electricity and water supply, and cooling, 24 hours a day throughout the CERN site.

The third application was the GraXML event viewer made by a Java developer in the ATLAS collaboration – Julius Hrivnac from the PH department. The tool permits a 3D visualization of the Atlas detector geometry with event (collision) data overlaid. With simple movements of the mouse, the detector can be manipulated in 3D space and the reconstructed particle tracks clearly seen as they traverse the various components of the detector.

Finally, the GridPP real-time monitoring (RTM) tool was shown. Developed at Imperial College, this tool provides a near real-time view of Grid activity, visualized on a 3D view of the Earth. Data centres are depicted as coloured discs and messages as coloured lines.

Mathieson went on to explain that these four applications are only a small sample of the work done in Java at CERN. Almost all of CERN's administration, as well as key components of the accelerator control software, are written in Java. In the past, Java had a reputation for being slow compared with traditional languages, such as C++ and Fortran. Today, however, with advances in compiler technology, it equals and sometimes outperforms C++ in many benchmarks. This fact, coupled with its first-class security model and threading support, make it an excellent choice for both server-side and desktop applications.

Useful links
GriddPP RTM: