November 27, 2012, 2:25 PM —
Charlotte Fiorito for Sun Microsystems Inc.
James Gosling, the inventor of the Java programming language when he worked at Sun Microsystems, finds the security framework for Java he designed still stands up after all these years. In fact he's using it today to design marine robots that can be sent across the ocean to gather weather data or carry out research projects.
"I'm using all the crypto APIs and the sandbox APIs and the Java DE [development environment] and NetBeans," says Gosling, now chief software architect at Liquid Robotics. Gosling, is helping design marine robots that use satellite-based remote controls (plus cellular signals when close to shore) to cross the wave-pitched seas, sometimes for months at a time, to do jobs like collect weather data or monitor pollution levels.
The programming for the robots is based on Java, and the robots are basically a "platform for sensors," says Gosling. The latest marine robot being completed is designed to be more aware about its environment so it can navigate more on its own without remote control or preprogramming. There's also work being done to optimize communications since satellite use can be expensive and bandwidth-intensive. He notes, "It's all Java code, a new generation of robots that's all Java on the inside."
The Java programming language that Gosling created, now in its seventh edition, has expanded its security structure but sticks to its basic principle of the security sandbox set of rules to ward off hostile code, while also offering ways to implement public-key infrastructure, authentication and access control mechanisms, among other security features.