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Interactive Data Language

IDL Graphics

The human mind likes its data visually presented.

Thus, the demand for Interactive Data Language, a computer language used to create high-quality graphics.

It began life as the product of Research Systems Inc., and that company's founder, David Stern. In 1981 the company released a variant for VAX/VMS, the architecture that Digital Equipment Corporation  was using.

Although IDL's earliest use was in astronomy and the space sciences, it soon proved adaptable to such fields as medicine and nuclear physics. According to Liam E. Gumley of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the language is used in "monitoring and controlling the plasma field of a nuclear fusion tokamak."

I wrote about this (including the above paragraph verbatim) for eHow back in September 2010.  Some Q-and-A operation called Brothersoft picked up on my explanation a year later: Brothersoft.

It was a neat challenge trying to master the information I did to write that, from a starting point of complete ignorance of graphic software. I repeat myself here just cause I'm feeling lazy, and because I think the above example of graphing looks pretty sweet.

Wondering what's a tokamak? Go there.


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