There’s no doubt that Eclipse has changed the way people code. All around the world, no matter the language, Eclipse likely has a solution.

But it wasn’t always this way. Ten years ago today, when the Eclipse project officially kicked off, the world of IDEs was still dominated by commercial offerings and niche players. Borland still existed, and Microsoft was still pushing Visual Basic. Java was a young language, and no one had ever used the letters “SOA” in a consulting contract.

How times have changed. Today, Eclipse is the dominant development platform for Java users and a popular choice for folks who write C++, PHP, Python, Ruby, and a host of other languages and tools. With the help of the open-source community, Eclipse has grown to become the Swiss Army knife of enterprise software development, and numerous companies have been built on top of Eclipse technology. Heck, even some of those Wall Street traders use it, thanks to the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (pardon the pun), which allows developers to turn Eclipse itself into an interface and platform for their applications.

And so, it is with great respect and pride that we bring to you the top five cool projects at the Eclipse Foundation. When you’re done, check out the timeline application at the Foundation’s Website.

STEM

Eclipse isn’t just about code. When repurposed to act as a platform, it can be used to run just about anything. Such is the case with STEM, a project for using Eclipse as a way to model the spread of infectious diseases. As we’re all programmers here and not doctors, we’ll let the STEM project explain itself:

The Spatiotemporal Epidemiological Modeler (STEM) tool is designed to help scientists and public health officials create and use spatial and temporal models of emerging infectious diseases. These models can aid in understanding and potentially preventing the spread of such diseases.

Policymakers responsible for strategies to contain disease and prevent epidemics need an accurate understanding of disease dynamics and the likely outcomes of preventive actions. In an increasingly connected world with extremely efficient global transportation links, the vectors of infection can be quite complex. STEM facilitates the development of advanced mathematical models, the creation of flexible models involving multiple populations (species) and interactions between diseases, and a better understanding of epidemiology.

STEM is designed to make it easy for developers and researchers to plug in their choice of models. It comes with spatiotemporal Susceptible/Infectious/Recovered (SIR) and Susceptible/Exposed/Infectious/Recovered (SEIR) models pre-coded with both deterministic and stochastic variations. STEM simulates the models using numerical ordinary differential equation solvers (two solver options are currently available) and outputs the results to a range of sources, for instance a map view or the file system.