Date Added: Aug 2011
In recent years Java has matured to a stable easy-to-use language with the flexibility of an interpreter (for reflection etc.) but the performance and type checking of a compiled language. When, the authors started using Java for astronomical applications around 1999 they were the first of their kind in astronomy. Now a great deal of astronomy software is written in Java as are many business applications. They discuss the current environment and trends concerning the language and present an actual example of scientific use of Java for high-performance distributed computing: ESA's mission Gaia. The Gaia scanning satellite will perform a galactic census of about 1000 million objects in their galaxy. The Gaia community has chosen to write its processing software in Java.