James Gosling appeared onstage at JavaOne as part of the Java Community keynote presentation to talk about the robotics work for which he was awarded one of this year's Duke's Choice Awards.
In our recent Looking Forward to JavaOne we speculated on the question of whether founder of the Java language would put in an appearance this year's JavaOne, pointing out that he declined to attend last year's as a protest against Oracle. So his participation in the Community Keynote alongside some Oracle personnel is being seen as as a possible softening of his attitude.
Image from Nighhacks.
According to the JavaOne blog the audience were unaware that Gosling was about to take the stage:
a mystery voice from offstage pronounced "I've got some toys"
The toys in question is the new and innovative ocean-going autonomous device from Liquid Robotics, which resemble a floating surfboard, with an attached set of underwater wings.
There are currently about 150 Liquid Robotics vehicles out traversing the oceans offering applications from self-installing weather buoy, to pollution monitoring station, to marine mammal monitoring device, to climate change data gathering, to even ocean life genomic sampling.
Gosling explained that all guidance is achieved just by wiggling the rudder.The early versions of the vehicle used C code on very tiny industrial micro controllers, where they had to "count the bytes one at a time." But the latest generation vehicles, which just hit the water a week or so ago, employ an ARM processor running Linux. the ARM version of JDK 7 and a Swing Application that uses the WorldWind libraries with Gosling commenting:
"One of the cool things about Java that most people don't really think about is it's really good at doing AI (artificial intelligence) kinds of things,"
Gosling demonstrated real time satellite tracking of several vehicles currently at sea, noting that Java is actually particularly good at AI applications--due to the language having garbage collection, which facilitates complex data structures. He also made a point of saying to the conference,
"There are things you can't do using HTML."
Judging from the tweet stream, other blogs and media reports Gosling's appearance both surprised and delighted the audience - it was even described as the "high point of the conference" which sort of makes you wonder just a little.