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Clojure and Heroku Predict Flight Delays 109

murphee writes "Flight delayed again? Should have asked FlightCaster, a new site using statistical analysis to predict the delay of your flight in real-time. What's even better, the services is fully buzzword compliant: it's built with Clojure, distributed with Hadoop, served with Rails, and hosted on Heroku. This interview with one of the FlightCaster developers gives the gory details on architecture, Clojure tips, and your boss a reason to let you have all the multimethods and macros you can eat. Seems like now that O'Reilly's publishing a LISP book, the Age of Parenthesus has come..."
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Clojure and Heroku Predict Flight Delays

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  • by EraserMouseMan ( 847479 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @01:29PM (#29148437)
    Exactly. This project is simply a case study on how to build a web application on top of the most obscure infrastructure imaginable. That must be why there aren't many posts yet. All the bleeding-edge early-adopter \. flame-stokers were recruited for FlightCaster and are under NDAs.
  • Re:Unnecessary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs.ajs@com> on Friday August 21, 2009 @01:48PM (#29148677) Homepage Journal

    This is unnecessary because they tell you at the airport if your flight is delayed.

    Oh dear my, no.

    The airlines actually make it a strict policy to lie about delays. They don't release that information until many minutes and often hours until after they know about it. I used to work in the air traffic industry, and the data that I had access to at the time would show me delays that were scheduled by the FAA up to a couple of days in advance, but the airlines kept strict control over that information because leaking it would mean that competitors could offer to pick up passengers from delayed flights.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday August 21, 2009 @04:16PM (#29150395) Homepage

    They're scraping free data from the FAA web site [] and FlightStats [], then pumping it out into an iPhone app feed.

    But they're not using a really good data source. The high quality system is PASSUR RightETA []. This system uses hundreds of radar receivers near airports to pick up the transponder signals from aircraft. It doesn't transmit. Any radar in the area that triggers an aircraft transponder causes the transponder to emit, and the PASSUR receivers pick that up. Using multiple receivers and time of flight calculations, the aircraft can be located very precisely. In fact, this is more accurate than single-point radar. You can buy a feed of this data, but it's not free.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.