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CERN automates application development with Electric Cloud

Electric Cloud will manage application quality for scientists in search of Higgs Boson

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) is using automation technology from Electric Cloud to accelerate the application development efforts of more than 10,000 users of its ROOT software.

ROOT is an open source C++ framework and library used by developers for experiments in high-energy physics, including those at the Large Hadron Collider in search of a theoretical particle called Higgs Boson, which could answer fundamental questions about how the universe works.

The software is also deployed in a variety of industries including finance, astronomy and various data mining applications.

Due to the vast number of ROOT users, modifications and improvements are constantly being made to the applications upon which CERN's experiments are based. Previously, these adjustments were made on an ad hoc basis, but now CERN will use Electric Cloud's ElectricCommander to ensure these modifications work before pushing out their application for download and use.

"When you're creating applications designed to identify the existence of sub-atomic particles that serve as the foundation of our universe, the quality of your code is critical. Incorrectly compiled and tested applications can literally set your experiments back by months and obscure important findings," said Benedikt Hegner, Scientist with CERN's development team.

"This quality assurance requirement is compounded by the fact that we need to support thousands of developers using a diverse set of tools and languages and across a variety of compute platforms. ElectricCommander enables us to manage the hundreds of daily requests from our developer base while simultaneously ensuring these applications will perform as expected."

Hegner said that one of the main reasons CERN chose ElectricCommander was its ability to adapt to different development processes.

No two application development organisations are alike, and organisations often have to alter their development processes in order to accommodate proprietary tools. However, ElectricCommander works with almost any platform and can be incorporated into any existing environment, meaning that CERN does not have to alter its existing tool sets or processes.

CERN also has millions of lines of code that need to be tested on a wide variety of platforms and maintained for 30 to 40 years. ElectricCommander ensures that these tests can be run in parallel across multiple platforms in an automated manner.

"Having the flexibility to work with what is there, instead of forcing other tool sets to be used to work efficiently means a faster adoption rate, and faster return on investment," said Kalyan Ramanathan, vice president of marketing at Electric Cloud.

CERN already uses static analysis software from testing company Coverity to eliminate software defects from ROOT. The software checks the code for defects as it is being written, so they can be eliminated at an early stage, when they are the easiest and least expensive to find and fix.

Ramanathan said that ElectricCommander integrates with Coverity's software.


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