GHS2: Ready for Beta Testing
For the past several months, the programming staff at Creative Systems
has been working on a "port" of the GHS (General HydroStatics) Main Program to
a new development system. The purpose of this move is to modernize the source
code in which the program is written, making it more amenable to future
development, including future versions for operating systems other than DOS.
In theory this is a lateral move, neither adding to nor subtracting from
the functionality of the program. In practice certain characteristics of the
program inevitably change. This happens because, while externally it is
exactly the same program, internally everything is different.
The trend in the software industry has been toward larger and slower-
running programs. Since continual improvements in hardware speed and capacity
have kept a similar pace, the performance of the newer software (assuming the
latest hardware) has not suffered too much. Nevertheless, the inefficiency of
modern software has eaten up the performance gains which should have come with
more powerful hardware.
Another problem with such moves has been an initial decrease in
reliability. It seems that the first version of the rewritten program always
has many new bugs for its users to find.
In order to avoid these undesirable results, Creative Systems has spent a
great deal of effort developing a technology for automating and optimizing the
conversion process. And the result is well worth the effort.
This new version of the GHS Main Program is being called GHS2 (in the
interim before its final release), and it appears to have made computing
history! Here is why: The GHS2 program files are actually smaller - less disk
space is used; GHS2 runs faster on the same hardware; GHS2 requires less
memory to run the same geometry file; The GHS2 Main Program provides much more
memory for interaction with other programs in the GHS system; and GHS2 is not
full of new bugs. In fact the automated conversion process eliminates a whole
class of human errors - the most common source of bugs. Not only is the disk
space requirement less, it also involves fewer program (.EXE) files: only one
file where the old program had four to seven.
During the transition period, both GHS and GHS2 are available. The
difference in their names allows them to coexist in the same directory without
confusion. GHS2 is being made available for testing to any GHS user who is
currently subscribing to Maintenance/Support. Starting with version 6.70,
only GHS2 will be distributed and its name will be changed to GHS. The
transition to version 6.70 is expected to take place in January, 1998.
At that time the derivative products BHS, BHS/Yacht and GLM will also
have their main programs updated with the new technology.
For a speed comparison between GHS and GHS2, a run consisting of cross
curve calculations on the Chemical Tanker model (TANKER.GF) was prepared. It
consisted of 13 heel angles at 15 drafts with free trim. Run time comparisons
were made on a 133 Mhz Pentium under various operating systems.
The results of the timing test are shown in the graph below. These
times include loading of the program and reading of the Geometry File. Note
that in all cases GHS2 is substantially faster than GHS. Interestingly, the
performance in a window under Windows 95 went from the worst with GHS to the
best with GHS2.
When it is released in January, version 6.70 will have undergone
extensive field testing. In addition to the enhanced performance, it will
incorporate many corrections and improvements resulting from user feedback
during the last several months.
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Creative Systems, Inc.