Instruments used for observations need to be properly controlled - from low-level software defining the instrument's processing logic to higher-level interfaces for the observers and telescope operators. MPIA's software department provides such control for instruments ranging from advanced components such as adaptive optics system, designed to counteract the distortion produced as light passes the Earth's atmosphere, to bread-and-butter application such as the control of infrared detectors or CCD cameras.
In modern astronomy, the preparation of observations and the reduction of data have close ties to instrument control, as well. In planning their observations, astronomers need to take into account the constraints imposed by the instrument used.
All these tasks need software - and depending on the complexity of the task, it needs customized software. This is where MPIA's instrumentation and project software department comes in: Developing custom software to enable observations with a one-of-a-kind instruments like LINC-NIRVANA (on the Large Binocular Telescope), to control infrared cameras, or to perform crucial data reduction steps for the exoplanet hunter SPHERE.
Intelligent software design makes clever use of modularity - designing programs that can be reused, in whole or in parts, for different projects.