EPICS User Meeting - Melbourne 2015

Andrew Starritt (Australian Synchrotron), Juan Guzman (CSIRO)

On Sunday 18th October there will be 1-day EPICS user collaboration meeting in Melbourne before the ICALEPCS main conference. The (Southern Hemisphere) Spring 2015 EPICS collaboration meeting provides an opportunity for developers and managers from the various different sites to come together and discuss their work in progress and make plans for the future. They give a chance to see what is being done at other laboratories, and to review the specifications for new tools or enhancements to existing ones in order to maximize their usefulness to the whole community and avoid duplication of effort.

There are several new developments going on in the EPICS community that we would like to hear about. We are particularly interested in technical topics that are relevant to the EPICS community and will not be covered in the main ICALEPCS conference (status talks are in the main conference). Some of the topics we would like to focus this edition of the EPICS meeting are:

  • Experiment control: in particular the use of EPICS v4 (or other newer technology) in production systems: who is using it or planning to use it? what are the lessons learned? what is the future of older high-level frameworks?
  • Tools & clients: latest developments on CS-Studio, Qt and of course… Web and Mobile
  • Low-level controls: integration of new PLCs, custom instrument/hardware, hard real-time, DAQ equipment and/or timing0
  • Services such as V3 and/or V4 archivers (especially the ones dealing with big big data), scan services, physics services, etc.

We also welcome some cool, interesting technical thing that you would like to share with the EPICS community even if it doesn’t fall in the categories above and it won’t be covered in the main ICALEPCS conference.

Call for abstracts in now open. Please submit your abstract via this website or send it via email to any of the meeting's Chairs.

Looking forward to see you all in Melbourne.

Meeting Chairs (replace _at_ with @ when sending email):

  • Juan Carlos (JC) Guzman, CSIRO, juan.guzman_at_csiro.au
  • Andrew Starrit, Australian Synchrotron, andrew.starritt_at_synchrotron.org.au 


    • 09:10 09:15
      Welcome 5m
      Speakers: Andrew Starritt (Australian Synchrotron), Mr Juan Guzman (CSIRO)
    • 09:15 09:30
      EPICS Status and Roadmap (video) 15m
      EPICS v3 and v4 status and roadmap
      Speaker: Andrew Johnson (APS)
    • 09:30 09:50
      Py4Syn - a Python library for beamline control under EPICS 20m
      Py4Syn is an open-source Python-based library for data acquisition, device manipulation, scan routines and other helper functions, created by LNLS staff. It offers high customization level for scans and data output, covering distinct techniques and facilities.
      Speaker: Mr Márcio Paduan Donadio (CNPEM / LNLS)
    • 09:50 10:10
      EPICS V4 evaluation for SNS Neutron Data 20m
      Version 4 of the Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System (EPICS) toolkit allows defining application-specific structured data types (pvData) and offers a network protocol for their efficient exchange (pvAccess). We evaluated V4 for the transport of neutron events from the detectors of the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) to data acquisition and experiment monitoring systems. This includes the comparison of possible data structures, performance tests, and experience using V4 in production on a beam line.
      Speaker: Dr Kay Kasemir (SNS)
    • 10:10 10:30
      PVAPY: Python API for EPICS PV ACCESS 20m
      As the number of sites deploying and adopting EPICS Version 4 grows, so does the need to support PV Access from multiple languages. Especially important are the widely used scripting languages that tend to reduce both software development time and the learning curve for new users. In this paper we describe PvaPy, a Python API for the EPICS PV Access protocol and its accompanying structured data API. Rather than implementing the protocol itself in Python, PvaPy wraps the existing EPICS Version 4 C++ libraries using the Boost.Python framework. This approach allows us to benefit from the existing code base and functionality, and to significantly reduce the Python API development effort. PvaPy objects are based on Python dictionaries and provide users with the ability to access even the most complex of PV Data structures in a relatively straightforward way. Its interfaces are easy to use, and include support for advanced EPICS Version 4 features such as implementation of client and server Remote Procedure Calls (RPC).
      Speaker: Mr Sinisa Veseli (Argonne National Laboratory)
    • 10:30 11:00
      Morning break 30m
    • 11:00 11:20
      aLIGO Guardian: an EPICS-based state machine automation platform 20m
      The Advanced LIGO project has developed a new automation platform to handle the complicated automation needs of their newly upgraded detectors. Written entirely in Python and using EPICS for all communications, the platform, called Guardian, consists of a hierarchy of distributed state-machine automaton processes. Each automaton controls a particular sub-domain of the instrument, with the full hierarchy control the entire detector. This talk will discuss the concept and implementation of this novel platform, how automation logic is programmed into the system, and how the aLIGO project has deployed it for use in commissioning and automating complex, large-scale interferometric gravitational wave detectors.
      Speaker: Dr Jameson Rollins (California Institute of Technology)
    • 11:20 11:40
      EPICS Archiver Appliance in connection with a StrongBox storage gateway 20m
      We run the Epics Archiver Appliance ( http://epicsarchiverap.sourceforge.net ) at the Fritz-Haber-Institut. The appliance runs right now as a cluster on two server systems. The servers are connected to different networks to collect all EPICS-PV-data from different experiments distributed in the whole institute. As long time storage (LTS) a storage gateway (StrongBox) is used to enable storage cost optimization. StrongBox is using tapes (LTO 5 & 6) as archive/long-term storage media. The self-describing LTFS is used. So no properitary software is necessary to access the data on the tapes. I will introduce the assembly and will give some performance data. I want to discuss some open issues regarding the retrival and management of the archiver appliance.
      Speaker: Heinz Junkes (Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft)
    • 11:40 12:00
      Using Linux containers for EPICS gateways 20m
      Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System (EPICS) gateways allow the (read-only) access of almost all of the process variables (PVs) available at the Australian Synchrotron from almost any network. An EPICS gateway is both a Channel Access server and a Channel Access client. Users connect to the server side, and the client side connects to Input Output Controllers (IOCs) as well as other gateways. There are three main reasons to use EPICS gateways in an EPICS based controls system: improved performance by having only the gateways connect to PVs, additional access security beyond that of the Channel Access server, and the ability to bridge different subnets (e.g. access accelerator PVs at the beamlines). In this talk we will review the previous EPICS gateway configuration at the Australian Synchrotron and will explain in detail the new architecture which makes use of dynamically configured Linux containers running on CentOS 7. Finally we will discuss the experiences gained during the system's past 5 months in production.
      Speaker: Dr Andreas Moll (Australian Synchrotron)
    • 12:00 12:20
      EPICS Development for the ASKAP Design Enhancements Program 20m
      The development of the 2nd generation ASKAP hardware and software introduced several enhancements to the EPICS 3.14 based Telescope Monitoring and Control System. We review the use of database & code generation tools, composite IOCs for creating a control and monitoring point hierarchy and the use of summary records for aggregating health information.
      Speaker: Mr Craig Haskins (CSIRO)
    • 12:30 13:30
      Lunch break 1h
    • 13:30 13:50
      An EPICS Solution for Galil Products that can Provide a Comprehensive, and High Performance Motor and PLC Control System for Use at Synchrotrons 20m
      A new Asyn based model 3 EPICS driver for Galil products has been written. The software connects EPICS to all products in the Galil range, resulting in an easy way to implement beamline and other synchrotron control equipment. High bandwidth updates using UDP is supported enabling high performance analog and digital IO. Standard motor record point to point motion is supported as well as a litany of new features such as auto power on/off, wrong limit protection and more. For high end motor controls, coordinated velocity trajectory motion for up to 8 motors is available whilst output compare can be used to gate external detectors based on motor position. Up to 8 pseudo or virtual motors are also supported. Devices requiring multi-mode coordinated motion are easily implemented using the provided run-time changeable kinematics. The driver is simple and intuitive, whilst being flexible, and providing high performance. This EPICS driver for Galil products is the easy way to meet your demanding requirements.
      Speaker: Mark Clift (Australian Synchrotron)
    • 13:50 14:10
      EPICS, Linux & NUMA I/O: an example 20m
      An EPICS soft IOC that running under Linux and doing significant I/O can need system and application tuning for NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) to use the hardware efficiently. I present an example of an IOC that uses 2x10Gb Ethernet for I/O and has been tuned for a current generation Dell server using Intel CPUs. The parameters for tuning the I/O are device interrupt CPU affinity and application CPU affinity. These settings may be generalised to other devices and EPICS applications.
      Speaker: Mr Euan Troup (CSIRO)
    • 14:10 14:30
      Modern Java Channel Access - CA 20m
      To simplify and speed up the development of Java Channel Access clients PSI Controls and Cosylab developed a modern pure Java Channel Access library called CA. The library overcomes several shortcomings of the current Java libraries based on out-dated JCA interfaces. It makes fully use of the Java type system, and easily supports synchronous and asynchronous operations for get, put and connect operations. It offers efficient and simple handling of parallel operations without the need to use threads by using modern concepts introduced in Java 8. This short talk will give you a quick start on how to use this library, present the underlying concepts, and show what can be done with it.
      Speaker: Mr Simon Ebner (Paul Scherrer Institut)
    • 14:30 14:50
      Matlab Channel Access 20m
      For many user as well as beamline and machine scientists Matlab is the tool of choice for data analysis and modelling. To facilitate the interaction of their code with the Epics control system the Controls group of PSI provides and supports a new Matlab Channel Access library. The library has no other dependencies than Matlab itself and can be used on all major operating systems. The usage of the library is as easy as downloading it and to dynamically load it from a Matlab application.
      Speaker: Mr Simon Gregor Ebner (Paul Scherrer Institute)
    • 15:00 15:30
      Tea break 30m
    • 15:30 15:50
      Support of user focused graphical applications through the epicsQt framework 20m
      With ongoing development of epicsQt, user focused EPICS graphical applications keep getting easier to develop. If you are simply dragging and dropping from the widget set provided with epicsQt, using other widget sets such as caQtDM, building your own widget plugins, or coding entire applications, epicsQt supports the creation of applications that focus on the user. The tools within the epicsQt framework that help develop you a rich application, rather than just present a set of synoptic displays, are presented.
      Speaker: Andrew Rhyder (Australian Synchrotron)
    • 15:50 16:10
      CS-Studio Display Builder Upgrade 20m
      CS-Studio's ‘BOY' may well be the most prominent component of the toolset. It’s used in production at many sites, its feature set is quite complete. Still, there is always room for improvement. The display builder project aims for the design and development of an upgrade that is highly compatible, specifically reads existing *.opi files, but with more modular code that removes our dependence on GEF, SWT, and the UI thread. Initial demonstrations show performance gains of JavaFX over SWT especially Linux, plus a general move of the data pipeline to background threads instead of blocking the user interface thread
      Speaker: Dr Kay Kasemir (SNS)
    • 16:10 16:30
      CSS collaboration status 20m
      Speaker: Eric Berryman (Facility for Rare Isotope Beams)
    • 16:30 16:40
      Closing remarks 10m
      Speakers: Andrew Starritt (Australian Synchrotron), Mr Juan Guzman (CSIRO)
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