[zeromq-dev] ZeroMQ as replacement for CORBA in robotics

Pieter Hintjens ph at imatix.com
Mon Jun 15 09:18:59 CEST 2015

For what it's worth, CERN's Large Hadron Collider switched from CORBA
to ZeroMQ a year or two ago for the industrial control part of the
experiment. There is also a large community around Tango (a control
system originally for synchtotrons), originally built on CORBA, which
is switching/has switched to ZeroMQ: http://www.tango-controls.org/.

Not exactly robotics, yet close.

On Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 9:02 AM, Johan Philips
<johan.philips at kuleuven.be> wrote:
> On 2015-06-15 02:05, Christoph Mueller wrote:
>> Hi folks :)
> Hi Ruuns
>> I've worked 4 years in an institute for robotics where CORBA is still a
>> big thing for handling a highly-concurrent and distributed dataflow
>> network located on different machines/platforms and with a high-spread
>> of different implemenation languages (C, C++, Python, Ruby). It was
>> often a pain in the ass how the software architecture envolved into
>> complexer shape from year to year.
> We've been also upset with the growing complexity of CORBA in the past
> and frustrated by the fact that most roboticists assume communication is
> solved by using ROS, which is far from true!
>> Now i've found your amazing piece of software in the last days and your
>> framework have left a fabulous impression on me. Especially the
>> documentation seems really great, seems to provide a nice interface to
>> complex network stuff and i'm wondering if ZeroMQ could be the modern
>> alternative of CORBA for the future.
> That was my impression as well when I found this library about a year
> ago! The ZGuide is by far the best software documentation I have ever
> seen and I also like Pieter's attitude and humor in his writing :)
>> 1) I would like to ask you if you have any experiences/userstories/works
>> where ZeroMQ is currently used in robotics and how does it fit thier
>> requirements? I'm just curious how does it perform in such domain :)
> I know of a few, including our group at KU Leuven. At the last
> euRobotics Forum in Vienna, I gave an introductory presentation on
> ZeroMQ and organised a workshop on communication for robotics. If you
> want I can send you some minutes of that workshop.
>> 2) I've started for myself a research project on zeromq that should be
>> used for an IPC layer (TCP, PF_UNIX) to handle an asynchronous data
>> network to connect a webcam process with an independent interface to
>> other proccessors (loggers, computer vision detectors, gui
>> visualization) I'm intending to use a classical named input/output-port
>> architecture with specified messages (by google's protocul buffers) that
>> is also known in ROS/Orocos (which also uses data-oriented
>> publish/subscribe architecture)
>> Do you have any hints and handy tips about important topics in ZeroMQ
>> which are helpfull in implementing this ideaand
>> i could focus in the beginning? That would be awesome.
> I have started with ROUTER/DEALER sockets for asynchronous communication
> between different robots but have switched now to the Zyre library,
> since it provides a lot of the bookkeeping for discovery of peers,
> connections to those peers and heartbeating/pinging to check if they are
> still in range.
>> Hope these questions are not to wide opened for a discussion.
>> I also want to give the developers my appreciation for this nice
>> engineered framework. Looks very solid and developer-friendly :] Keep up
>> working it that manner.
> It's nice to hear others in robotics are looking at ZeroMQ as well!
>> Best Regards
>> Ruuns
> Johan
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