Software of the Year

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2007 Award Co-Winners

The Software Advisory Panel met at NASA Langley Research Center on March 19-21, 2008, to hear presentations from nominees to determine their recommendations to the Inventions and Contributions Board (ICB) for the selection of the 2007 award. The Software Advisory Panel Members for 2007 are:

Voting Members

  • Arthur E. Beller (Kennedy Space Center)
  • Ray R. Bryant (Stennis Space Center)
  • Scott E. Green (Goddard Space Flight Center)
  • Anthony R. Gross (Ames Research Center)
  • Jay G. Horowitz (Glenn Research Center)
  • James T. Renfrow (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
  • Caroline K. Wang (Marshall Space Flight Center)
  • Felicia M. Wright (Langley Research Center)

Oversight Members (Non-voting)

  • Walter Kit (NASA Headquarters, Office of the Chief Information Officer)
  • Martha S. Wetherholt (Headquarters, Office of Safety and Mission Assurance)
  • John C. Kelly (Headquarter, Office of the Chief Engineer)
  • Anthony J. Maturo (Headquarters, ICB Staff Director)
  • Jesse C. Midgett (Headquarters, ICB Technologist)
The panel reached unanimous decision that the following two packages are to be designated as Co-Winners, and on April 2, 2008, the Board confirmed the selection of the Co-winners and Runners Up. The winners' awards will be presented at the 2009 NASA Project Management Challenge in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Award Title:

The Data-Parallel Line Relaxation (DPLR)

Lead NASA Center:

Ames Research Center (ARC)

Case Number:



The Data-Parallel Line Relaxation (DPLR) Code, pronounced DEE-plur, is used to analyze and predict the extreme environments human and robotic spacecraft experience during extreme high-speed entries into planetary atmospheres. These high fidelity simulated entry environments are necessary for engineers to design and apply thermal protection materials suited to withstand them since they cannot be duplicated in full scale in any test facility on Earth. DPLR has significantly impacted science and technology beyond its direct support of NASA primary mission objectives. It has been transferred to multiple government, industry, and university partners for use within the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, civilian aerospace, and fundamental research endeavors. Several DPLR-derived tools are in active development within universities and industry across the country.

Four images showing DPLR simulations on the Space Shuttle

Above: These four images show DPLR simulations on the Space Shuttle. The DPLR
software has already made a positive impact throughout the aerospace industry.


DPLR already has a major impact on NASA and defense aerospace industries, and can potentially benefit civilian aerospace as well. Other uses of DPLR include breakup of de-orbiting debris (as demonstrated recently in a collaborative effort between NASA Ames Research Center and Kennedy Space Center), and missile plume signature analysis. Potential applications include all civilian and military entry vehicles, hypersonic and supersonic cruise vehicles, and commercial and military launch systems. The performance and physical modeling innovations in the DPLR software have the potential to greatly enhance the design and optimization of such systems. Also, the generalized chemical kinetics and transport property packages in DPLR make it potentially valuable for the simulation of combustion flows for both aerospace and non-aerospace applications (such as reactors or combustion engines).

Award Title:

Adaptive Modified Gerchberg-Saxton Phase Retrieval

Lead NASA Center:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Case Number:



The Adaptive Modified Gerchberg-Saxton (MGS) Phase Retrieval program uses a telescope's science camera with innovative and robust algorithms to characterize possible errors that limit its imaging performance. The software has been integrated into calibration control loops to correct those errors, and can achieve orders of magnitude improvement in sensitivity and resolution. It is in use at the California Institute of Technology's Palomar Observatory and played a significant role in designing NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2013. Early work for the JPL software was based on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope correction techniques. MGS can be applied to other sciences and systems that use light, such as laser communications and extra-solar planet detection.

Before and after photos of a spiral galaxy; right image improved by MGS software

Above: The MGS software demonstrated on before and after photos
of a spiral galaxy. The right-hand image was improved by MGS.

Runners Up

(listed alphabetically):
  • High charge Z and E TraNsport 2005 (HZETRN) (LAR-17327)
  • Interoperable Remote Component (IRC) Architecture (GSC-14308)
  • Multidimensional, Multiphysics Computational Heat Transfer Analysis Software — UNIC (MFS-32554)