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Visual Studio .NET 2003 Speeds Racetrack Data

Visual Studio .NET 2003 Speeds Racetrack Data

In the high-velocity world of IndyCar auto racing, the rivalries on the track aren't the only racing going on. Behind the scenes, state-of-the-art technology engages in a high-speed race of its own - against time.

In a lightning-quick flow of information, timing systems report the times at which cars cross sensors positioned around the track, servers calculate car speeds, and a wireless network delivers the data in real-time to computers used by race teams in the pits, race officials and car manufacturers. Getting the data is especially critical at the end of the race.

"As soon as the car crosses the finish line, the updated information must appear instantaneously on the screen," says Jon Koskey, director of timing and scoring for Indy Racing League (IRL), a racing division that includes the Indy 500 and other high-profile, open-wheel races.

Indianapolis-based IRL recently developed an application that gathers and analyzes this real-time racetrack data using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003. Speed was of the essence in more senses than one. Because of the short off-season for racing, the league's small team of developers had less than five weeks last winter to create the new application. The new application was needed because the old one was hard to maintain and update, could not be configured in ways the teams needed, and was nearing its performance limits, league officials say.

Given the short time frame, IRL needed a toolset that would allow quick development with minimal training. Working with Clarity Consulting, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, IRL used Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect development system, Visual Basic and the .NET Framework with Microsoft SQL Server to build a fully customizable display application - within the deadline - that exceeded the league's specifications. It also used Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server to create a collaborative portal with significantly reduced maintenance requirements.

Koskey says he's extremely pleased with the performance and processing power of the new solution, which includes a SQL Server that easily handles the more than 80,000 data points gathered in a typical IndyCar race and the 300 to 600 simultaneous server connections per second.

"We've greatly minimized the time required to move the data from the database to the client application," Koskey says. "The Framework-based solution is easily 50 percent faster than the application that we used in the past."

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.NETDJ News Desk monitors Microsoft .NET and its related technologies, including Silverlight, to present IT professionals with news, updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards, and insight.

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