This episode is a mix between computer architecture, programming and (historic) space flight. We cover the ins and outs of the Apollo Guidance Computer. Our guest ist Frank O’Brien, who wrote an incredibly detailed book about this machine. In the episode we cover the hardware architecture, the instruction set, the various layers (native, executive and interpreter) as well as some mission programs.
Here is another episode in our ongoing (and hopefully never ending :-)) series on flying iconic airplanes. This time we talk with former Concorde pilot John Hutchinson about flying this Mach 2 airliner. We discuss the cornerstones of the design and construction of the aircraft, its operation (mostly with British Airways), flying characteristics as well as the infamous accident in Paris in 2000 (on which John has some very specific opinions).
This episode is a conversation with Ruud Hoogeveen from the Netherlands Institute for Space Research about satellite-based Earth observation, and primarily about measuring the concentration of gases such as CO2 or Ozone from space. We talk about the effects of these gases on the atmosphere, how the sensors work in principle, and about the history and evolution of the sensors over the various missions. We conclude with a look on detecting and measuring aerosols and at the future challenges and current research for satellite-based earth observation.
In this episode we talk about mission control for the Space Shuttle. Our guest is Dan Adamo, a former flight dynamics officer (FDO) in the Mission Control Center. We cover the organization of mission control, the various roles, qualification and training, the specific tasks of the FDO as well as a little bit of history. Dan also relates many interesting episodes from his time “in the trench”.
This is the last episode in 2014. Nora and Markus wish you Merry Christmas, a few quiet days between the years and a good start into 2015. Stay tuned, there’s a lot of good stuff coming on this station :-)
This episode is about analog computers, which are computers that compute using a physical model of a real system, often using analog electronic devices. Our guest is Bernd Ulmann who runs the Analog Computer Museum near Wiesbaden, Germany. In the episode we talk about what analog computers are (mechanical, electronic, digital), how they are programmed, what they are used for and why they should (and will?) be used in modern computing as well. We close the episode with a short discussion of the VAX and the AN/FSQ-7, both computer systems near and dear to Bernd.
This episode is about ITER, the international project to build an experimental fusion plant in southern France. While on vacation in that area, I had the opportunity to visit the site and talk to Richard Pitts about many aspects of the project. We focus mostly on the physics and the engineering challenges, but also address some of the organizational aspects of this huge scientific project. Note that this episode is essentially a continuation of omega tau 022 – Nuclear Fusion at MPI für Plasmaphysik; I recommend to listen to this episode first, if you haven’t done so yet.
This episode is a conversation with Iain Bethune from the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Center about high-performance computing: the topic has played an implicit role in many previous omega tau episodes, and this episode treats it explicitly. We discuss different architectures (supercomputers, commodity clusters, grid computing), programming languages and software design as well as application areas.
In this episode we talk with Jochen Liske from the European Southern Observatory about the E-ELT Telescope for which construction is about to start. We discuss the engineering challenges of building a 40m mirror and the associated telescope, as well as the science that is planned to be addressed with the E-ELT once it is finished. We also discuss a number of issues around optical astronomy in general that were not covered in our episode about the LBT.
Joe Liske is also the host of both the HUBBLEcast and the ESOCast, two video podcasts about astronomy you may want to check out.
In our little series on interesting aircraft, this episode covers the Harrier, the iconic VTOL fighter. Our guests are Joe Anderson and Art Nalls, who both fly Art’s civilian Harrier in airshows. We discussed the history of the Harrier and its predecessors, talked about its use in the military and the advantages of STOVL and then discussed in some details the intricacies of flying a Harrier (compared to other aircraft). We concluded by talking about Art and Joe’s airshow activities.
This episode is a conversation about the world-wide container shipping infrastructure with Martin Clausen, the former general counsel of Maersk and Nicolas Guilbert from Ange Optimization. We discuss the history of containers, routing, some details about the ships and container terminals as well as a brief outlook on the future of the container shipping industry. In part two we take a deeper look at optimisation of container stowage on ships and network planning.