7 Jul, 2019 | 3 min read

Ballerina and University of Washington Hyperloop: Forward Together

  • Peter Evans
  • Evangelist, Office of CTO - WSO2

What do you get when you mix some of the brightest minds from a highly accomplished school with Ballerina, a cloud native programming, network-distributed application programming language?

Why, a Hyperloop challenger that is what.

I was honored to be invited to the University of Washington’s recent unveiling of their 2019 Hyperloop POD racer at the UW’s Husky Union Building on May 10, 2019. The room was full of determined, excited and busy students who are passionate about their entry for this year’s pod race event at Elon Musk’s SpaceX facility.

For those that have not been following the Hyperloop event for the last few years it is a competition run by SpaceX to enable teams from colleges to develop, test, and then run a scale Hyperloop pod in a competition each year. This competition allows crowdsourcing of technologies and theories in how such a system could be built enabling a rapid transport system of the future. Ballerina and WSO2 have been sponsors of the UW team since before the event last year where the team won an innovation award from the man himself and came in at first place from the US entries and fourth overall.

Ballerina is a new language that helps developers author integration services, deploy serverless or containerized microservices, and resist service failures with transaction resilience and chaos-ready deployment. The Ballerina Platform contains an integration programming language, a serverless and container tuned runtime along with transaction frameworks for integrating legacy apps, an API gateway, a message broker and agile toolchain plug-ins. These mechanisms are used to bring together the control code modules delivered in different languages enabling the UW Hyperloop control team to monitor the pod, enable shutdown commands and analyze the runs and performance of their engine, pod and control systems.

Speaking to the team at the event, they could not stop enthusing about how easy it had been to build the code modules in Ballerina. How it enabled them to quickly prototype integrations, functions and capabilities when changes needed to be made and how the ability to pose questions to the Open Source Community that backs the project has been invaluable.

Look to the blog for more posts as we move forward with the event including a post about the final testing phases this month.