Julia programming on a Raspberry Pi

Julia is a free and open-source general purpose programming language made specifically for scientific computing.

In this blog I wanted to document my Pi Julia interface testing.

Getting Started

Julia is supported on Windows, MacOS and Linux. See the download documentation for your specific system at : https://julialang.org/downloads/. To install Julia on a Raspberry Pi enter:

sudo apt install julia

To check your install, you can run Julia at the command line:

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ julia
   _       _ _(_)_     |  Documentation: https://docs.julialang.org
  (_)     | (_) (_)    |
   _ _   _| |_  __ _   |  Type "?" for help, "]?" for Pkg help.
  | | | | | | |/ _` |  |
  | | |_| | | | (_| |  |  Version 1.0.3
 _/ |\__'_|_|_|\__'_|  |  Raspbian ⛬  julia/1.0.3+dfsg-4+rpi1
|__/                   |


Julia packages can be installed at the command line by:

julia> using Pkg
julia> Pkg.add("some package")

Julia with Raspberry Pi GPIO

A Raspberry Pi package “PiGPIO” is installed by:

julia> using Pkg
julia> Pkg.add("PiGPIO")

Once the package is installed a daemon ( pigpiod) is created that the Julia script connects to. The pigpiod daemon is started by:

sudo pigpiod

Below is an example script that cycles a GPIO pin. For this example the GPIO pin is passed as a keyboard input. The readline() method returns a string, so parse() is used get an integer.

# pi1.jl - GPIO test 
using PiGPIO 

print("Enter the GPIO pin: ")

n = readline()
led_pin = parse(Int64,n) # convert the string input to an Integer

println("Pin used: $led_pin ")

#led_pin = 4 #use BCM pin 4 (physical pin 7) 
p=Pi() #connect to pigpiod daemon on localhost 
set_mode(p, led_pin, PiGPIO.OUTPUT) 
println("Julia is cycling an LED 5 times") 

    for i in 1:5 # cycle 5 times 
        PiGPIO.write(p, led_pin, PiGPIO.HIGH) 
        PiGPIO.write(p, led_pin, PiGPIO.LOW) 
    println("Cleaning up!") 
    # if you wish to leave the pin as an input 
    #set_mode(p, led_pin, PiGPIO.INPUT) 

To run the code enter:

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ julia pi1.jl
Enter the GPIO pin: 4
Pin used: 4
[ Info: Successfully connected!
Julia is cycling an LED 5 times
Cleaning up!

Raspberry Pi Inputs

A simple GPIO read input programs is:

# pi2.jl - GPIO input test 

using PiGPIO

p = Pi() #connect to pigpiod daemon on localhost 

in_pin = 23
set_mode(p, in_pin, PiGPIO.INPUT)

println("\nInput status on Pin 23...")
println("hit Cntl-C to break out")

println(PiGPIO.read(p, in_pin))

while true
    println(PiGPIO.read(p, in_pin))


The output will look something like:

pi@raspberrypi: $ julia pi2.jl
[ Info: Successfully connected!

Input status on Pin 23...
hit Cntl-C to break out

Final Comments

As a Python user l found using Julia to be  frustrating, the documentation is weak and there aren’t the extensive libraries that I’m used to using in Python.

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