Experimental Physics Controls Experts Meet
From 10 - 15 Oct 2005, the “European Organization for Nuclear Research” (CERN) and the "Centre de Recherches en Physique des Plasmas" (CRPP) of the "École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne" (EPFL), hosted the EUROPHYSICS conference ICALEPCS'2005, the tenth “International Conference on Accelerator and Large Experimental Physics Control Systems” at the “Geneva International Conference Centre” (CICG).
ICALEPCS is the prime conference in the field of controls of experimental physics facilities: particle accelerators and detectors, optical and radio telescopes, thermo-nuclear fusion, lasers, nuclear reactors, gravitational antennas, etc. The initiative to create this series of biennial conferences was taken end 1985. Until then experimental physics controls, and in particular accelerator controls, was not allotted more than a session in more general purpose conferences (e.g. the EPS Conference on Computing in Accelerator Design and Operation, Berlin, Sept. 1983) or a workshop in the context of a specific facility (e.g. for the National Synchrotron Light Source at BNL, Jan. 1985, and the Proton Storage Ring and Ground Test Accelerator at LANL, Oct. 1985). Considering the pervasive growth of controls in the accelerators, it was felt that this topic deserved a full-fledged conference. An initial group of six laboratories, namely CERN (Geneva), GANIL (Caen), HMI (Berlin), KFA (Jülich), LANL (Los Alamos), and PSI (Villigen) were then called in to create the group on Experimental Physics Control Systems (EPCS) within the European Physical Society (EPS) (1986) with the purpose, amongst others, to patronise these conferences. In a next step, CERN offered to organise the first ICALEPCS in 1987.
The ICALEPCS circulate around the globe:
- the European Physical Society (EPS),
- the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) through its Nuclear and Plasma Science Society (NPSS),
the Association of
- the American Physical Society (APS),
- the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC),
- the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) through its Technical Committee on Computer Applications in Technology (TC5).
As the first ICALEPCS was held in
ICALEPCS’2005 was particularly auspicious: it fell in the year that
UNESCO has declared the World-Year of
Physics, and in addition, being hosted in
ICALEPCS covers all domains of controls and operation: too many to be covered at each conference. Therefore, besides the recurrent Status Report, this year’s event focussed issues of current concern in the community: Process Tuning, Automation and Synchronisation, Security and Other Major Challenges, Development Approaches, Hardware Technology Evolution, Software Technology Evolution, Operational Issues and Dealing with Evolution
Chairs: Jo Lister (CRPP) and Mike Mouat (TRIUMF)
Several major new and planned experimental physics facilities around the world were reviewed with an emphasis on their controls systems. These facilities ranged from particle accelerators, synchrotron light sources and free electron lasers, through detectors at large experiments, fusion projects, telescopes and gravity wave detectors. Issues covered in this session varied from the colossal scope of some projects to the cultural issues of merging existing Controls and merging existing Operations Groups, to issues of collaboration, precision, data rates, cost, reliability, management, etc.
accelerator topics included a
synchrotron light sources, Marco
Lonza (ELETTRA) spoke on the multidisciplinary Synchrotron Light source in
- The fusion community was well represented with three talks: an update by Paul Van Arsdall on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a presentation by Vladimir Zaitsev (TRINITI, Troitsk) on Angara-5, and an introduction to the data challenges of ITER by Jonathan Lister (CRPP-EPFL), co-Chairman of ICALEPCS'2005.
- Telescopes were represented by Gianni Raffi (ESO) who described the computing project of the Atacama Large Millimetre Array radio telescope facility in the Andes (ALMA, an international collaboration between Europe, Asia, and the Americas), and by a talk from Edzer Lawerman on the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR).
CERN there were two presentations on particle
detector control systems, one by Serguei Zelepoukine (CERN) on the
electromagnetic calorimeter of the CMS experiment at LHC and the other by Andre
Augustinus (CERN) on the
were also oral presentations on SPring-8's first phase of their 8 GeV X-ray
free electron laser by Toru Fukui (SPring-8) and on VIRGO, the large 3 km French-Italian gravity wave detection
Schmeling (CERN) gave a review of the IEEE
RealTime 2005 Conference recently held in
This session, as well as providing an interesting overview, acted as an introduction to presentations in the subsequent sessions that delved into more specific topics.
Chair: Daniele Bulfone (ELETTRA)
Here also a wide range of issues and many recent developments from
different experimental physics facilities were covered. In his invited
presentation, Larry Lagin (
Chairs: Peter Chochula (CERN), Dennis Nicklaus (FNAL)
In this session we heard about specific steps taken at SPring-8 to
secure their computing network (Miiho Ishii, SPring-8). Uwe Epting (CERN)
presented the security plans and policies to be deployed in 2006 at CERN on the
Network Infrastructure for Controls. Also from CERN, Guilio. Morpurgo presented
details on the detector safety systems and their handling of alarms. Gustavo Segura
(CERN) presented status and plans for LHC radiation monitoring, and Andromachi Tsirou
(CERN) presented the interlock system that should protect the CMS tracker from
its harsh operational environment (temperature, radiation, power losses …). Two
more theoretical talks discussed good design practices for security and
dependability considerations in control systems. Klemen Zagar (CosyLab,
Chair: Renaud Barillčre (CERN)
Experimental physics facilities become ever more sophisticated and their requirements in matters of controls ever more demanding. Developing a full featured control system is a huge task that conflicts with the reduction in manpower and budget that prevails in the experimental physics community. Laboratories are thus driven into collaboration - often involving multiple teams - to jointly develop systems based on commercial hardware and software solutions. This raises the problem of a assuring a streamlined and standard development approach to integrate diverse components into high quality systems.
Software tends to evolve in the direction of developing scalable frameworks or toolkits to enforce a standard approach by providing abstract concepts, automated code generation, “Rapid Application Development (RAD)”, software engineering and management tools … The programming of applications is thus significantly eased as well as their debugging, testing, deployment and maintenance. Examples of such frameworks abound:
- the JCOP framework to develop the LHC detector control systems (Oliver Holme, CERN) based on an industrial SCADA, namely PVSS;
- TANGO (Emmanuel Taurel, ESRF), a distributed object oriented control system for synchrotron radiation facilities developed jointly by ALBA (the new Spanish synchrotron in Barcelona), ELETTRA (the Italian synchrotron in Trieste), ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble) and Soleil (the new French synchrotron in Paris);
- the ALMA Common Software (ACS) (Gianlucca Chiozzi, ESO and Allan Farris, NRAO) a software infrastructure based on the Component / Container paradigm for the development of distributed control systems for the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), a network of 64 12m antennas.
- The UNICOS and the LHC GCS frameworks (Philippe Gayet, Claude-Henri Sicard, and Géraldine Thomas, all from CERN): a method, libraries and tools developed jointly by the AB and IT departments at CERN to automate the production of code for PLC and SCADA based applications.
Chairs: Giorgio Bassato (INFN-Legnaro), Beat Jost (CERN), Ryotaro Tanaka (SPring-8)
This session featured several issues along the lines of the “Development Approaches”:
- Computer busses and interfaces: PciExpress tends to become the only standard to connect devices with high bandwidth requirements (Tim Fountain, National Instruments). Standard PCI (with its various flavours like CompactPCI, PMC etc.) will be supported for many years for less demanding applications. No other standards are emerging for the near future.
- Networking technologies are the base of the new control systems architecture. 1Gb/s Ethernet can be considered a consolidated standard, while experimental networks with a bandwidth up 100Gb/s can be found in leading projects such as the ALMA (Fabio Biancat-Marchet of E.S.O). Networks with a lower bandwidth are often used as fieldbusses (cf. Takemasa Masuda, of SPring-8).
- Applications of programmable logic devices (FPGA): these components are the building blocks of digital controllers and in many cases, e.g. for the low level control of CERN's LINAC3 cavities (Javier Serrano, CERN) replace complex boards based on DSPs. Their importance is growing due to their capability of integrating standard functions (i.e. bus interfaces, digital filters, etc.) with custom application logic.
- As a general impression, there is a visible evolution of control system architectures towards a higher granularity. This has been made possible by the availability of small size boards with an Ethernet port (Niko Neufeld, CERN). This approach reduces the cost and improves the overall reliability.
Chairs: Vito Baggliolini (CERN), Gregor Neu (IPP)
The evolution of J2EE towards light-weight containers was illustrated by Jürgen Höller (Interface21) co-author of the Spring framework, and by Lionel Mestre (CERN), who explained how Spring is used for LHC slow controls.
frameworks such as NIF's large scale CORBA framework (Robert Carey, LLNL) have
matured, and the focus of attention is shifting from mere deployment towards
easier development. Steve Wampler (National Solar Observatory,
Access to remote distributed resources is now increasingly based on Web and Grid technologies. HyperDAQ, an application to provide access to distributed DAQ systems, employs web and peer-to-peer technology (Johannes Gutleber, CERN) and the Virtual Instrument Grid Service (VIGS), a part of the GRIDCC project, will use Grid computing to control distributed instrumentation (Roberto Pugliese, SINCROTRONE Trieste). XML related technologies, an overview of which was given by Christine Vanoirbeek (CRPP), have become ubiquitous.
Jean-Luc Nougaret (CERN) presented an interesting use of XML to model devices and of XSLT to generate a large part of the corresponding code.
novelty for this session was the talk by Javier Busto (GTD,
Chairs: Frank Glege (CERN), Joseph Rothberg (CERN), Karen White (TJNAF)
This session covered areas of controls development tightly coupled to machine operations such as data management, alarm handling and remote collaboration. There is much interest in the use of relational databases to manage operational information, such as the configuration database work described by Lana Abadie (CERN) for LHCb and in an innovative invited talk by Theodore Larrieu (TJNAF) on the potential use of commercial GIS systems for accelerator configuration management. Some of the work presented concerned efforts to provide common frameworks to better integrate diverse systems operationally, such as the Directory Services for CERN. Alarm handling remains an area of importance with discussion of ways to add intelligence to alarm handlers in order to reduce the incidence of unimportant alarms. And, in a look to the future, Martin Greenwald (MIT) detailed efforts to describe the data management and remote collaboration needs for ITER, a challenging new magnetic fusion machine in the early stages of development.
Chairs: Tadahiko Katoh (KEK), Timo Korhonen (PSI), Joseph Skelly (BNL)
Physics facilities as those that are the discussed in this conference are large investments and have an extended lifetime during which they usually evolve: their design requirements change often entailing a change of their functionality and possibly also of their performances, old devices are replaced by new ones, the technology change, and … people change as well.
Control systems should thus be designed to cope with this evolution while protecting their investment. Issues that are at stake are: performances, availability, i.e. long mean time between failure MTBF, and low mean time to repair MTTR, scalability and maintainability (cf. M. Bickley, TJNAF). The capability for these issues to keep in step with “evolution” is promoted by control systems’ architectures (cf. Mike Lamont, CERN) that:
- are modular, e.g. by factoring out common functionalities;
- are data driven by, where the data is the key (id);
- and that use commercial products and standards.
Important also is the use of appropriate tools, although these in turn need maintenance as well
Under the chapter of “architecture” falls the JAPC Code (Java API for Parameter Control) developed to facilitate the programming of the LHC Application Software (LSA). JAPC Code is used for equipment access and more generally for read / write / monitor access of everything assimilated to a parameter, and generates Java code based on device description (cf. Vito Baggiolini, CERN)
Technology is also key in reaching these objectives as was illustrated by Spring-8 that reduced its maintenance effort and cost by applying the so-called “virtualization technology” (Toru Ohata, Spring-8). Virtualisation technology originated from the IBM/360 system and enables to “accommodate” many computers into a reduced number of hosts whereby each “virtual machine” has its independent resources (CPU, discs, etc) as if they were stand-alone. This technique is applied at Spring-8 to cope with their computer proliferation while limiting hardware failure and maintenance task. Three virtualisation approaches have been studied, namely:
- Emulation of hardware (CPU, Disks and Network) or specific guest operating systems;
- Multiplexing of physical resources by a software layer called “hypervisor” or virtual machine monitor;
- “Application shielding”: the operating system establishes barriers between server applications rendering them invisible to other application spaces.
Eventually, the importance of thorough well-documented requirements was also stressed by M. Bickley (TJNAF).
Quite different is the design of control systems for medical accelerators. Medical accelerators also represent large investments of 100 MEuros (Mark Plesko, Cosylab), will last 20-30 years and will be profitable only after 12 years. For safety and regulatory reasons and unlike experimental facilities, medical ones must be designed for long term and stable lifecycle, ensuring minimal upgrades and limited improvements in the course of their life.
Chair: Jonathan Lister (CRPP-EPFL)
A Round-table discussion was organised on the in-kind procurement of large systems for collaborative experiments. The future ITER project was taken as an example, although of course ILC (International Linear Collider, the next facility after LHC) will have similar considerations. The round table was animated by Jo Lister (CRPP), Martin Greenwald (MIT) and Jon Farthing (JET) for fusion and Wayne Salter (CERN) for LHC experiments. About 80 people took part in the discussion, which aroused much interest but generated little conflict. The general agreement was that ITER should be bold and be as restrictive as possible on standards and equipment, even though there was no evidence suggesting this has been possible in the past. The opinion was expressed that industry would prefer well-defined deliverables. Notes of the round table were taken by Vito Baggiolini (CERN).
Chair: Daniele Bulfone (ELETTRA)
ICALEPCS’2005 closed upon an invited talk on the test system for the
Airbus 380 by Frédéric Abadie (Airbus Industries) and with an invitation to
Knoxville (Tennessee, USA) where ICALEPCS’2007 will be held, jointly hosted by Dave
Gurd (SNS, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, USA) and Karen White (Thomas
Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Newport News, USA).
Chair: Christopher Parkman (CERN)
The scientific programme was complemented throughout the week by a rich industrial one with a three days exhibition involving 17 companies and a dense programme of technical seminars by which companies presented their views on the evolution of their technology as well as their strategy. These seminars were particularly well attended.
M. Faber, and Stefan Kopp of AGILENT (
Joel Clerc and Christian Moser
of National Instruments Corporation
Manfred Fürsattel of Siemens Suisse SA, Automation &
- Martin Koller of ETM Professional Control GmbH (Eisenstadt, Austria), the company that developed PVSS, the SCADA system used for the controls of the LHC detectors, encouraged the audience to "Go for the Max" – realising huge projects with PVSS”.
- Graham S. Cross of Hytec Electronics Ltd. (UK) gave two talks respectively on “A 1U high, low-cost, flexible Input/Output Controller for remote data acquisition and control functions” and “An overview of Hytec's VME, VME64x and Industry Pack functions providing flexible, high-performance control and data acquisition system solutions”.
Rok Ursic of Instrumentation Technologies (
Peter G. Milne of D-TACQ Solutions Ltd, (
Stefano Petrucci of
- Philippe Constanty of GE Fanuc Embedded Systems (Nogent Sur Marne, France ) and Julian Lewis of CERN discussed the “Use of reflective memory in the CERN accelerator timing system”,
Raymond Chevalley of Acqiris (Plan les
In the week that preceded ICALEPCS’2005, from Thu. 6 through Sun. 9
Oct. a series of pre-conference workshops were held in
two full days on EPICS
(Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System) a freeware developed
as a multi-laboratory collaboration for the controls of accelerators, organised
by Matthias Clausen (DESY,
1.5 days workshop on ACS
(ALMA Common Software)
organised by Gianluca Chiozzi (ESO,
one day parallel workshop
organised by Andy Götz (ESRF,
- and eventually a half day Joint ECLIPSE Workshop organised jointly by Matthias Clausen (DESY) and Andy Götz (ESRF) to discuss Eclipse as an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and Eclipse as a Rich Client Platform (RCP).
In the afternoon of Sun. 9 Oct. Markus Völter (Völter-Ingenieurbüro
A panel involving Vito Baggiolini (CERN), Peter Chochula (CERN), Timo Korhonen (PSI), Mike Mouat (TRIUMF), Dennis Nicklaus (FNAL) and Karen White (TJNAF) selected the best posters and awarded a prize to:
- Jijiu Zhao (IHEP-Beijing) for her poster on “Status of the BEPCII Control System”;
- Thomas Birke (BESSY) for his poster “Beyond Devices – An Improved RDB Data Model for Configuration Management”;
- Marco Lonza (ELETTRA) for “Design of a Fast Global Orbit Feedback System for the ELETTRA Storage Ring”;
- Michel Jonker (CERN) for “The Controls Architecture for the LHC Collimation System”.
The social programme featured:
- a welcome reception sponsored by Hewlett-Packard;
wine tasting parties where
participants were given the opportunity to enjoy wines from both canton of
an organ and brass concert in
the St Pierre Cathedral in
- a cruise with a banquet on the lake Geneva;
- at the closing session participants were given a share of the ICALEPCS tenth anniversary cake offered by the Local Organising Committee.
On Sat 15 Oct. more than 120 participants were given the opportunity to visit two of the LHC experiments at CERN, namely CMS and LHCb, as well as the TCV Tokamak at the CRPP-EPFL
ICALEPCS’2005 was sponsored by the SWISS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT through its CICG, the REPUBLIC AND STATE OF GENEVA, the DÉPARTEMENT DE LA HAUTE SAVOIE (FRANCE) and its ARCHAMPS SITE as well as by several industrial companies: AGILENT TECHNOLOGIES, HEWLETT-PACKARD and SIEMENS. SWISS, the Swiss airline company was the official carrier.
DELL, the ICALEPCS’2005 partner, supplied the entire informatics infrastructure
Besides waiving their registration fees, ICALEPCS'2005 also supplied grants to participants from industrially emerging nations thanks to the financial support from:
- EPS, namely the “East West Fund” and the “Young Physicists Fund (YPF)”;
- ICTP (Abdus Salam International Centre for
Theoretical Physics) in
- the programme "SCOPES - Scientific Co-operation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland 2005-2008" of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC);
INTAS, the International Association for the Promotion of Co-operation with
Scientists from the New Independent States of the Former
In order to ease the participation of Scientists from Industrially Emerging Nations, the ICALEPCS’2005 organisers decided to waive their registration fee. This allowed 26 beneficiaries to participate to the event. In addition 17 of them received in addition a grant through one of the previously mentioned organisations.
- Two EPS-YFP grants were awarded to Indian scientists respectively from the Centre for Advanced Technology (CAT, Indore) and the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC, Calcutta);
- the Abdus Salam ICTP grant was awarded to a Chinese scientist from the Institute for High Energy Physics (IHEP-Beijing);
- five SNSF-SCOPES grants were distributed respectively to three Russian scientists: two from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR, Dubna) and one from the Kurchatov Institute (KCSR, Moscow), a Slovenian scientist from the Josef Stefan Institute (IJS, Ljubljana) and an Ukrainian scientist from the Kharkov National University;
nine INTAS grants were
distributed respectively to: four Russians respectively one from the Lebedev
Physics Institute (
Total number of participants: approximately 450
Number of Organisations (laboratories, universities, companies): 160
Number of countries represented: 27 (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Denmark, France, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, People’s Republic of China, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Ukraine, USA).
Delegates by continent:
Number of papers: 238 of which 79 orals (8 invited) and 159 posters
Number of industrial exhibitors: 17
Number of industrial presentations: 10 (2 per day, 5 days)
Number of participants to social events:
- banquet: 390
- concert: 450
ICALEPCS’2007 will be held in Knoxville (Tennessee, USA), jointly hosted by Dave Gurd (SNS, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, USA) and Karen White (Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Newport News, USA). Watch the ICALEPCS Website for details on this event.
For more details:
- on the series of ICALEPCS in general, see its Website. http://www.icalepcs.org/;
- on ICALEPCS’2005, see http://icalepcs2005.web.cern.ch/Icalepcs2005/ .
 Field-Programmable Gate Array, a type of logic chip that can be programmed.
 System for Control And Data Acquisition
 UNified Industrial COntrol System
 Gas Control System
 J2EE: Java 2
 EPICS is a set of software tools, libraries and applications developed collaboratively and used worldwide to create distributed soft real-time control systems for scientific instruments such as a particle accelerators, telescopes and other large scientific experiments. EPICS is a world-wide collaboration and relies upon its users to contribute to ongoing development and support of the software tools. To coordinate such activity, the diverse efforts are grouped into four categories with each category being coordinated by <volunteer> "category leads". The categories are described below with contact information for the category lead(s). A URL is also provided for more detailed information about the current activities in each category. Please feel free to contact the category lead(s) if you have any ideas or would be willing to contribute resources (either $$ or man-power) to specific activities. For more info: cf. http://www.aps.anl.gov/epics/about.php
 ACS is developed for the astronomical ALMA Project (while being a
fully general framework for control and non-control applications). ACS is the
result of a collaborative effort among the European Southern Observatory (ESO)
(main partner- 4 FTE/year), National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO),
Socorro(1 FTE/year), Astronomical Observatory of Trieste (INAF-AOTs) (~1
FTE/year) and Cosylab Ltd. (~1 FTE/year). These Institutes share the
intellectual property of ACS, which is freely available under the GNU LGPL
public license (compatible with the use of commercial products, like VXWorks).
ACS is based on an initial kernel of software provided by JSI/Cosylab, which
includes A Beans and has been in use on the ANKA accelerator,