Photon born from scientific high performance

Photon started in 2010 with the redesign of the Cheméo chemical properties search engine. This search engine is not only a standard search engine but also a calculation engine. To run properly, Cheméo uses:

  • MongoDB as a backend.
  • Python to parse and import data.
  • R to perform statistical analysis and model development (linear and non linear models).
  • PHP as a glue language to serve the web interface.

Researchers using Cheméo are pushing and retrieving job all day long, at the end, the traditionnal push a job, put in the queue, get a service pulling out of the queue the job, send it to R and push back the results in the database and finally get the information to the end user that the job completed approach was a bit of a hack.

Enters ZeroMQ, one can easily dispatch jobs in queues, subcribe to the answers, nice but nothing new. Ok brokerless, this makes it easier. Enters Mongrel2, bring the power of the easy message passing paradigm of ZeroMQ from the client all the way to the backend. An homogeneous stack. This was clear, after a decade of web application development that it was the way to go.

For the story, the name Photon was found by Mehdi Kabab. Most of the code is lifted from the previous Pluf framework which was already one of the fastest.

Who is behind Photon?

Photon is a project maintained by Loïc d'Anterroches for Céondo Ltd. Photon is licensed under the LGPL making it easy to integrate the code in other open source projects or closed source commercial applications.

Céondo Ltd is a consultancy founded in 2007 to provide services to the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.