The PILOTS Programming Language

PILOTS is a ProgrammIng Language for spatiO-Temporal data Streaming applications, especially designed to be used for building applications that run on moving objects such as airplanes, cars, and so on. With very high-level specifications, users can easily build applications that takes spatio-temporal data streams as an input and produces streams as outputs for use by other applications such as actuator controls, data mining/analyses/visualization, and error correction codes. These applications can be treated as components of a larger stream processing system.

PILOTS is declarative in nature and follows a syntax similar to Pascal. The unique language features in PILOTS are first-class support for data selection, data interpolation, and error recovery. Data selection is used when no data is available at a specific location and time. By interpolating the selected data, an application can view a set of heterogeneous data streams as a homogeneous data stream. This enables a separation of concerns: application programmers can focus on their application model. Error recovery is achieved by measuring an error function over time, and comparing its behavior to error signatures.

The PILOTS programming language was created by Carlos Varela and Shigeru Imai at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Current administrators of the language are: Sida Chen (chens15 at rpi DOT edu), David Glowny (glownd at rpi DOT edu), and Shigeru Imai (imais AT rpi DOT edu).
For information on PILOTS (such as motivation, specifications, techniques), refer to our PILOTS related publications.
For information on the Worldwide Computing Laboratory, and other working projects, please see

Press Coverage

(07/25/2014) "Carlos Varela, RPI - Improved Auto-Pilot Technology", The Academic Minute
(04/10/2014) "Making Autopilot Systems Safer",
(04/06/2014) "RPI research group working on a facet of airline problems currently in news", Troy Record
(04/04/2014) "Software developed to detect, fix data errors", Albany Times Union


(10/09/2016) PILOTS version 0.3.1 (pilots-0.3.1.tar.gz)
See the full release list here.

View the PILOTS tutorials here.


Here is a video that demonstrates how a PILOTS program works with failed airspeed sensor data from Air France Flight 447 accident.


This project has been partially supported by the DDDAS program of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Grant No. FA9550-15-1-0214, an NSF EAGER-Dynamic Data Award, Grant No. 1462342, and a Yamada Corporation Fellowship.

Worldwide Computing Laboratory

Department of Computer Science

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Last modified: February 9, 2017