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    1 The History of BRL-CAD
    2 ======================
    3 
    4 WARNING ** NOTICE ** WARNING ** NOTICE ** WARNING ** NOTICE
    5 
    6 This information contained in this file is retained entirely for
    7 historic reference until someone gets around to writing up a proper
    8 "history" of BRL-CAD.  The numbers, features, and requirements quoted
    9 below were true when they are written but are very much no longer true
   10 today.  Do not rely on any information contained in this file.
   11 
   12 WARNING ** NOTICE ** WARNING ** NOTICE ** WARNING ** NOTICE
   13 
   14 
   15 			The BRL-CAD PACKAGE
   16 			   Short Summary
   17 
   18 In FY87 two major releases of the BRL-CAD Package  software  were
   19 made (Feb-87, July-87), along with two editions of the associated
   20 400 page manual. The package includes a powerful  solid  modeling
   21 capability and a network-distributed image-processing capability.
   22 This software is now running at over  300  sites.   It  has  been
   23 distributed to 42 academic institutions in twenty states and four
   24 countries including Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, USC, and UCLA.
   25 The University of California - San Diego is using the package for
   26 rendering  brains  in  their  Brain  Mapping   Project   at   the
   27 Quantitative Morphology Laboratory.  75 different businesses have
   28 requested and received the  software  including  23  Fortune  500
   29 companies   including:   General  Motors,  AT&T,  Chrysler  Motors
   30 Corporation,  Boeing,  McDonnell   Douglas,   Lockheed,   General
   31 Dynamics,  LTV  Aerospace & Defense Co., and Hewlett Packard.  16
   32 government organizations representing all  three  services,  NSA,
   33 NASA,  NBS  and  the Veterans Administration are running the code.
   34 Three of the four national laboratories have copies  of  the  BRL
   35 CAD  package.   More  than  500  copies  of  the manual have been
   36 distributed.
   37 
   38 BRL-CAD started in 1979 as a task to provide an interactive
   39 graphics editor for the BRL target description data base.
   40 
   41 Today it is > 100,00 lines of C source code:
   42 
   43 	Solid geometric editor
   44 	Ray tracing utilities
   45 	Lighting model
   46 	Many image-handling, data-comparison, and other
   47 	supporting utilities
   48 
   49 It runs under UNIX and is supported over more than a dozen product
   50 lines from Sun Workstations to the Cray 2.
   51 
   52 In terms of geometrical representation of data, BRL-CAD supports:
   53 
   54 	the original Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) BRL data
   55 	base which has been used to model > 150 target descriptions,
   56 	domestic and foreign
   57 
   58 	extensions to include both a Naval Academy spline
   59 	(Uniform B-Spline Surface) as well as a U. of
   60 	Utah spline (Non-Uniform Rational B-Spline [NURB] Surface)
   61 	developed under NSF and DARPA sponsorship
   62 
   63 	a faceted data representation, (called PATCH),
   64 	developed by Falcon/Denver
   65 	Research Institute and used by the Navy and Air Force for
   66 	vulnerability and signature calculations (> 200 target
   67 	descriptions, domestic and foreign)
   68 
   69 It supports association of material (and other attribute properties)
   70 with geometry which is critical to subsequent applications codes.
   71 
   72 It supports a set of extensible interfaces by means of which geometry
   73 (and attribute data) are passed to applications:
   74 
   75 	Ray casting
   76 	Topological representation
   77 	3-D Surface Mesh Generation
   78 	3-D Volume Mesh Generation
   79 	Analytic (Homogeneous Spline) representation
   80 
   81 Applications linked to BRL-CAD:
   82 
   83 o Weights and Moments-of-Inertia
   84 o An array of Vulnerability/Lethality Codes
   85 o Neutron Transport Code
   86 o Optical Image Generation (including specular/diffuse reflection,
   87 	refraction, and multiple light sources, animation, interference)
   88 o Bistatic laser target designation analysis
   89 o A number of Infrared Signature Codes
   90 o A number of Synthetic Aperture Radar Codes (including codes
   91 	due to ERIM and Northrop)
   92 o Acoustic model predictions
   93 o High-Energy Laser Damage
   94 o High-Power Microwave Damage
   95 o Link to PATRAN [TM] and hence to ADINA, EPIC-2, NASTRAN, etc.
   96 	for structural/stress analysis
   97 o X-Ray calculation
   98 
   99 BRL-CAD source code has been distributed to approximately 300
  100 computer sites, several dozen outside the US.
  101 
  102 With the addition of the PATCH geometry, requested and funded by the JTCG,
  103 the BRL-CAD environment will provide the superset environment of the
  104 combined Army/Navy/Air-Force vulnerability communities.
  105 
  106 The BRL is now working with the Intelligence Community (led by the CIA)
  107 to provide a uniform geometry/attribute/interface capability
  108 together with a large library of target descriptions to support
  109 the ATR and exploitation community.  A super-set of the current
  110 BRL-CAD environment is the leading candidate for that role.
  111 
  112 
  113 ----
  114 
  115 To obtain a copy of the BRL-CAD Package distribution, you must send
  116 enough magnetic tape for 20 Mbytes of data. Standard nine-track
  117 half-inch magtape is the strongly preferred format, and can be written
  118 at either 1600 or 6250 bpi, in TAR format with 10k byte records. For
  119 sites with no half-inch tape drives, Silicon Graphics and SUN tape
  120 cartridges can also be accommodated. With your tape, you must also
  121 enclose a letter indicating
  122 
  123 (a) who you are,
  124 (b) what the BRL-CAD package is to be used for,
  125 (c) the equipment and operating system(s) you plan on using,
  126 (d) that you agree to the conditions listed below.
  127 
  128 This software is an unpublished work that is not generally available to
  129 the public, except through the terms of this limited distribution.
  130 The United States Department of the Army grants a royalty-free,
  131 nonexclusive, nontransferable license and right to use, free of charge,
  132 with the following terms and conditions.
  133 
  134 
  135 ---
  136 
  137 BRL-CAD was principally architected and started by the late Mike Muuss
  138 after something of a dare in 1979. Earl Weaver (also of BRL at the
  139 time) bet Muuss that he couldn't display the XM-1 tank design (a
  140 prototype for the M1 Abrams) on a new graphical display terminal that
  141 had just been acquired. About 48 hours later, Mike had the display up
  142 and drawing a wireframe model. Within a day after that, military
  143 generals were being flown in and escorted into the research lab to see
  144 the design of the new tank. It was the first time anyone had ever
  145 "seen" the new design outside of some drawings.
  146 
  147 In 1972 plans for a new tank were decided on, and development
  148 contracts were awarded in 1973. In November 1976 the Chrysler
  149 prototype was selected to enter Full Scale Engineering Development
  150 with Chrysler being awarded a three year US$196.2 million contract to
  151 build 11 XM1 pilot vehicles, the first of which was completed in
  152 February 1978. "Designed in the 1970's by the Land Systems Division of
  153 the General Dynamics Corporation in response to the U.S. Army's MBT-70
  154 program, the first M1 rolled off the assembly line in 1978. After two
  155 years of acceptance trials, the first of these vehicles was delivered
  156 to the US Army on February 28, 1980." [1] The XM1 was accepted for
  157 full production in February 1981 and named after General Creighton
  158 W. Abrams, former Army Chief of Staff and a battalion commander of the
  159 37th Armored Battalion of the 4th Armoured Division during World War
  160 2, and a key supporter of the XM1 programme.
  161 
  162 Development on BRL-CAD as a package subsequently began in 1983; the
  163 first public release was made in 1984. BRL-CAD became an open source
  164 project on 21 December 2004. BRL-CAD now continues to be developed
  165 and maintained by a core community of open source developers ever
  166 since.