A Generic Control-System Stack on MicroTCA for Data Acquisition

Among humankind's most pivotal projects are Big Physics experiments investigating the foundations of fusion, fundamental particles, origins of the Universe, the structure of materials, biochemical reactions, and much more. On the other hand, MicroTCA (MTCA) is an open-standard architecture for switched fabric computer systems. Its .4 standard module (MicroTCA.4) increases PCB-space and modularity and is geared towards use in large-scale scientific facilities. With its I/O backplane architecture, MicroTCA is becoming one of the de-facto COTS (commercial off-the-shelf systems) standards in Big Physics, having been already wholly accepted by the high-energy physics community.

LabVIEW and Accelerator Control Systems

Every particle accelerator must have a commanding system that controls and monitors hundreds of various devices and subsystems with sub-microsecond synchronisation. Good architecture and design is the key to building modular, scalable, maintainable, and testable software. This is especially true for large systems such as control systems for accelerators which require high uptime, reliability and scalability for long term operation and future upgrades. Therefore, the accelerator control system (ACS) is an extensive and complex piece of software that must supervise the correct and safe performance of all devices integrated into the machine. The system has to guarantee dependability, stability and performance. It must also be extensively modular and configurable to meet new current and especially future demands.

A Fast Integration of PLCs and EPICS

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) have been widely used in industrial control systems for many years now, such as aviation, automotive, processing, production assembly-line, manufacturing, energy and oil-processing industry. Engineers find PLCs simple to program and capable of controlling a multitude of automatic processes. PLCs contain microcontroller units (MCUs) whose capabilities have increased steadily with time, making PLCs much more capable than a decade ago and ready to tackle new challenges in system automation.
Cosylab_IPAC 21

IPAC 2021: Light sources and the rest

Two years ago, it was a completely different experience with Big Physics events! People who were attending such events from Cosylab were often in the air, high above the oceans separating the world's continents. A good example is the 2019 IPAC event hosted in Melbourne, which Cosylab visited in person. Of course, due to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, IPAC 2021 was a wholly virtual event. The latter was organised from the 24th to the 28th of May 2021 by the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), located in Campinas. And in the opinion of my colleagues and my own, the conference was most likely the best possible within the constraints of its virtual format.
Cosylab Cooler Synchrotron

A case of Improved Beam Control at COSY Jülich

The COSY (Cooler Synchrotron) is a German particle accelerator and storage ring operated by the Institute of Nuclear Physics (IKP) at Forschungszentrum Jülich that employs beam cooling. The latter helps particles follow more closely their predetermined path. COSY is one of the only accelerators in the medium energy range that uses both stochastic and electron cooling. A few years ago, the need arose to improve the beam control at the Jülich centre, and Cosylab was invited to participate in the project.

A Human Machine Interface fit for SCADA

In Cosylab, we perform a lot of work on control systems for various domains and applications. We also complete our fair share of SCADA (Supervisory control and data acquisition) systems that are getting more popular in the scientific and medical domain due to their steadily evolving capabilities as a real-time system. One of the recurring tasks was finding the best solution sweet-spot system for constructing a project-specific SCADA's HMIs.
Cosylab European Space Agency

A Modern Infrastructure for the European Ground Control

Historically, in Europe, diverse systems have been used by various agencies and organisations for AIT (Assembly, Integration and Testing) and Flight operations for a variety of missions. Many of them are using old technologies, and agencies and organisations face difficulties in modernising them. The solution to this is the EGS-CC framework, which is a European initiative to reduce risk and recurring costs and ensure synergy across missions and different space project phases.

A Checklist for a Modern Control System

In the last decade, control system development for Big Science facilities has become an established engineering discipline and less of a scientific endeavour that it expectedly was, at times, characterised by the "not-invented-here" viewpoint.
How to perform a Control Systems Project: The Example of BBCS

How to Perform a Control Systems Project: The Example of BBCS

As early as 2012, the consulting firm McKinsey&Co determined that "half of all large IT projects massively overblow their budget". This finding, consistent across industries, also threatens big science projects in general, and their control-system integration programmes specifically. Our company has been an external contributor to integrating control systems for large scientific installations and sites worldwide for almost twenty years. I am going to describe what methodology we usually use as the most effective in control-system projects.

A Compact and Fast Build System, Fit for a Ninja

As all software developers, C++ programmers face annoyances in their typical workday behind the keyboard, but some of them are especially tedious. One type of the latter is unwanted periods of inactivity while waiting for the source code of a large project to compile.