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Track Descriptions

1 - Status reports

Chairmen: John Maclean  + Hamid Shoee + Sharon lackey + Mike Mouat

The session on Status Reports presents an overview of new or upgraded, experimental, physics facilities, with a control system perspective. Reports typically cover the early stages of a project within the time frame from the conceptual proposal, to that of being recently commissioned. Appropriate candidate topics include reports on facilities such as particle accelerators and detectors, fusion devices, light sources, telescopes and gravitational wave detectors. Presentations should include descriptions of the most challenging issues facing the facility. Projects that involve novel, or unusually complex or demanding control systems, are strongly encouraged.

2 - Quality assurance

Chairmen: Claude Saunders +  Karen WhiteKrister Larsson

Quality assurance is a process of assuring that the results of a project (be it a service or actual artifacts) meets the specified requirements at time of delivery. In the world of controls, in addition to specific technical requirements, systems are typically expected to meet to provide high availability/reliability and be easy to configure and maintain, therefore these elements should be reflected in the quality assurance process. The quality process is typically some variation of: Plan, Do, Check, Act. It is also necessary to cover dependencies between systems where a change in the current project affects others. This track covers all aspects of the quality process with respect to producing quality control systems, including hardware, software, and support.
Plan – Establish requirements, design, schedule, project plan
Do – Implement project according to plan
Check – Monitor/evaluate progress against establish Plan (includes builds, testing, integration, analysis)
Act – Make improvements when indicated by evaluation

Invited speaker: Miron Livny - University of Wisconsin-Madison "Distributed Software Infrastructure for Scientific Applications"

3 - Project management

Chairmen: Anders Wallander +   Pascale Betinelli + In Soo Ko

This track covers all aspect of project management with the aim to deliver an integrated control system on time and within budget. In particular contributions on managing large and geographical distributed control system projects are encouraged. Methods and strategies to meet challenges like restricted budget and in-kind procurements are of interest. Topics include:

Managing of schedule, budget and resources
Resource solutions (e.g. in-house, contracts, outsourcing, collaborations)
Contract management (subcontracting)
Progress and budget tracking methods
Project management tools
Collaborations and sharing

Invited speaker: Amor Nadji  from the SESAME project will present this unique Middle East intergovernmental project created under the auspices of UNESCO

4 - Integrating Industrial/commercial devices

Chairmen: Philippe Gayet +   Stephane Perez

This track concerns two different themes :

The first theme addresses the evaluation and use of industrial control systems components and devices.

  • This could include technologies such as Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), commercial field busses or Off-The-Shelf (OTS) devices. This part leads to understand the reasons why, industrial control system and components integration are, or are not, successful for applications in the domains covered by the ICALEPCS conference. In addition to this, the papers should include the long-term experience using such industrial control systems in order to understand how this might influence the future projects choices.

The second theme of the tracks addresses experience of collaboration with industrial partners, in the various aspects and period of a control system development.

   It may include :

  • Collaboration in the improvement or co-development of a software or hardware device (including intellectual property aspects and eventual retributions).
  • Experience in subcontracting the development of device or control system (what was good, what went wrong, including the specification aspects, the reception and acceptance tests, the long term maintenance or the transfer of competencies)
  • Experience on how to deal with commercial products dependency including time and production constraints, and operating physic facilities.
Keynote speaker: James Truchard

5 - Embedded + Realtime software

Chairmen: Larry Hoff Jean-Marc Koch + Kazuro FURUKAWA

This track covers embedded and real-time software which plays a significant role distributed control systems. Topics include embedded and real-time operating systems, micocontrollers and other embedded platforms, and the management of such systems – with a particular emphasis on hardware and software sharing and collaboration.

  • Realtime linux, embedded micro controllers
  • Management / evolution?
  • Hardware/operating system...
  • Review of embedded operating systems and realtime kernels

6 - Distributed computing

Chairmen: Gianluca Chiozzi +  Wojtek Sliwinski + Mikyung Park

This track covers technologies, frameworks and architectures employed for implementation of the highly distributed control systems, typical for accelerators and large physics experiments. In particular, we aim at identifying trends and emerging technologies in the field of distributed computing together with successfully adopted approaches for their usage and integration with industrial, off-the-shelf technologies for the realization of heterogeneous distributed control systems.
Topics include:

  • Control system architecture
  1.  What is the architectural model followed by new projects? Is the classical 3-tier still holding? How is it evolving?
  2. "State Analysis and Mission Data System" from JPL/NASA ( is also emerging as a powerful paradigm for the implementation of complex systems. Is it being considered in our community?
  3. Are there areas where the grid & cloud computing concepts could be applied?
  • Middleware
  1. What are the emerging middleware technologies (like DDS) and how are they being used?
  2. Data Distribution & Publish-Subscribe architectures seem to play a growing role with a respect to classical Request-Reply paradigm. What are projects doing? What are pros and cons? Are there already results? In which scenarios those data & message oriented middleware technologies are not applicable?
  3. How are established technologies (like EPICS, TANGO, ACS) evolving in response to new requirements and new development communities?
  4. What is the role played by commercial vs. open-source packages?
  • Performance and scalability
  1. How do project cope with growing distribution, longer distances between components but at the same time closer feedback loops?
    Reports and lessons learned from projects going online are particularly interesting.
  2. Are the emerging Message-Oriented-Middleware architectures (e.g. DDS, OpenAMQ, ZeroMQ) able to provide the expected reliability and scalability features? Is the implicitly asynchronous communication reliable? For DDS based systems - Does the usage of multicast communication constrain the potential for scalability?
  • Integration between low level control and high level coordination.
  1. Is it true that systems are more and more built with off the shelf heterogeneous components?
  2. What are the enabling factors (field buses, Ethernet, open protocols like OPCUA...)?
  3. How are the heterogeneous low level controls components integrated together and coordinated at a higher level? Are the protocols like OPC or OPCUA used to interface heterogeneous devices with a higher level middleware?
  4. Are instead tools born for engineering activities, like LabVIEW, expanding to cover also the high level coordination domain? Does this have an impact on the choice of operating system (Linux vs. MS Windows vs. RT OS)?

Also in this case we are very interested in results from the more advanced projects and in the plans of the new projects.

7 - Process tuning and feedback systems

Chairmen: Marco Lonza +  Mark Heron + Harshad Pujara

Effective commissioning and operation of modern experimental physics facilities rely on a variety of applications to set up, tune and optimize complex processes. Feedback and feed forward systems, in particular, can be essential for a stable operation and even become indispensable to perform the experiments. The successful implementation of such applications and systems requires the integration of high-level applications, online models, archiving, data visualization and real-time processing into a coherent and functional software environment.

Possible topics for this track include:

  •   Machine and experiment automation, tuning and optimization
  •   Feedback systems
Invited speaker:  Filippo Sartori - Fusion for Energy ITER "Global Real Time Functions of the Plasma System"

8 - Data and information management

Chairmen: Alain Buteau +  Nick Hauser

Control systems generate data which can be divided in 2 categories:

  1. “technical data”  used by the control system it self : for example, settings and readings from hardware, configuration parameters.  These data are used by accelerators specialists to diagnose problems, tune the facility and enhance the accelerator  performances
  2. “scientific data” : scientific facilities generate measurement data which are the “raison d’être” of  our scientific institutes and which are used by scientific communities which may be different from the accelerators community itself

Because of equipments and detectors evolution, the amount of data generated increase quickly and the “data avalanche” is one of the major challenges of the next year for computing teams of our facilities.

This track is dedicated to all aspects (technical and organisational) related to the management of these 2 kinds of data.

In particular the following themes should be covered within this track:

  • Data policy : data retention , long term preservation
  • Data Security Management deals with data access, data privacy, data security
  • Data integration involves combining  data residing in different sources and providing users with a unified view of these data
  • Data mining and data analysis : how to transform the data into information

Cross-institutes initiatives to provide scientific communities an easy access to scientific experimental data would also be of high interest


9 - Upgrade of Control Systems

Chairmen: Ryotaro Tanaka + Ralph Baer + Gongfa Liu

This track will deal with issues involved in upgrading, re-engineering, and maintaining existing control systems in an era of fast-paced technological advances. Possible topics for this track would include:

  • Descriptions of control systems or subsystems that have been substantially improved or modified. These may include software or hardware systems or both.
  • The problem of rolling upgrades and legacy control systems, where 'old' and 'new' must operate concurrently and communicate with each other during the upgrade process.
  • Designing control systems to accommodate the electronics and IT evolution.
  • Integration and realization of user’s demands on the modern control system.
  • Lessons learned from examples of successful upgrades as well as those that were less than successful focusing on planning, development and migration methodology.

10 - Software Technology Evolution

Chairmen: Vito Baggiolini + Jorg Klora

This track presents technical news from the control systems and the software technology to built them. This includes new methods in software engineering as well as new technology and products that can be used in controls. Of particular interest is experience gained and lessons learned from applying these new approaches in practical software development projects.

  • Control system evolution: Reports on evolution of, additions to, and performance improvements of control system toolkits  (EPICS, TANGO, DOOCS, ALMA, ACNET, ….)
  • GUI toolkits : Display managers , Specific Toolkits, Use of existing GUI frameworks and toolkits (ATK, Tau, Eclipse RCP, JavaFX, …)
  • WEB tools and technology, Remote Supervision and Control, Mobile Applications ( Google Web Toolkit, Eclipse RAP, Web services, SOA, Android, Apple Apps, …)
  • New languages (Scala, Ruby, Clojure, Google GO, …), Domain specific languages, Scripting
  • Advanced software development techniques (e.g. Component-oriented software development e.g. with OSGi, aspect-oriented programming, code generation, etc.)

keynotes speakers Markus Völter and Bruce Eckel

11 - Hardware

Chairmen: Javier Serrano +  Kay Rehlich

This track covers hardware technologies and developments used in control systems. In particular it deals with board-level and FPGA solutions for problems related to signal acquisition and control, synchronization, system interconnect, platform management, etc. with an emphasis in open standards and design sharing.

Topics include:

  • Hardware platforms, e.g. uTCA, ATCA, VME, ...
  • Hardware standards, e.g. PCIe, USB3, ZigBee, ...
  • Fieldbusses and networks.
  • FPGA design, including SoC and radiation-tolerant design.
  • Timing systems, down to femtosecond precision.
  • Reliability and EMC considerations.
  • Design sharing and Open Source Hardware.
  • Management of hardware obsolescence.
Invited speakers :
 Raymond S Larsen
- SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory "Challenges for Emerging New Electronics Standards for Physics"
    John Byrd - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  "Large-scale Distribution of Femtosecond Timing for Accelerators"


    12 - Protection and Safety Systems

    Chairmen : M. Zerlauth & B. Todd

    This track considers the role of personnel and environmental protection systems as well as the increasing importance of machine protection systems and their implications on accelerator and physics control systems. 

    The key areas under discussion:

    Safety Functions:  including interlock system design, quench protection systems, and other control system elements which are ensuring that machine components are not subjected to dangerous or stressful situations.

    Software Quality/Integrity:  deciding the integrity required for control systems, considerations about machine up-time, availability, safety and maintainability are becoming increasingly important, the current state-of-the-art, advances and ideas.

    Operational Experience / Lessons learnt: What has gone wrong/can go wrong in controls system and what can we learn: incorrect specifications, omitted safety requirements, random hardware failures, systematic hardware failures, software errors, common cause failures, environmental influences and supply voltage disturbances.

    Human Factors:  ensuring that the man machine interface contributes positively to successful, reduced-risk operation.

    Keynote speaker: Leslie Hatton - Kingston University CISM

    13 - Infrastructure Management and Diagnostics

    Chairmen: Niko Neufeld  + Steve Azevedo

    Infrastructure Management and Diagnostics – Monitoring the health of distributed control systems to predict problems before they occur, or diagnose failures when they do, is crucial to reliable and efficient facility operations. This track addresses the technologies, tools and
    methodologies for monitoring performance, resources and alarm conditions across the infrastructure of IOCs, networks, processing nodes, data storage systems and databases in order to achieve this objective. Virtualization and cloud computing technologies are demonstrating ability to meet the needs of dynamic, high-availability large-scale control and computing environments. A variety of software tools are available to monitor these systems. This track invites technology surveys, reports of recent experience and plans for new work in the context of the control system infrastructure.

    • Monitoring of IOCs/Hosts health
    • Monitoring of network bottlenecks,
    • Alarm systems
    • Monitoring of control system health
    • Resource management
    • Virtualisation - use and survey of practices
    • Cloud computing
    • Data storage infrastructure and monitoring

    14 - Operational Tools and Operators View

    Chairmen: Eric Björklund + Laurent Farvacque + Liren Shen

    This track is devoted to both the standard control system tools used every day by machine operators and physicists, and the more specialized control system tools used to commission, turn on, tune, and optimize machine operations.

    Examples of “every-day” control system operational tools would include:

    • Synoptic display managers
    • Plotting and graphing tools
    • Alarm handlers
    • Data logging and replay
    • Parameter save/restore/compare
    • Electronic log books.
    • Software frameworks.

    Examples of specialized operational tools would include:

    • Modeling and simulation systems
    • Automated machine turn-on and optimization tools
    • High-level toolkits such as Matlab, Scilab, and Octave

    We are also interested in the ergonomics of operational tools, the human-machine interface, and what it takes to make a tool useful and easy to use.

    Invited speaker :Andreas Luedeke - Paul Scherrer Institute "Ergonomics of Operational Tools"


    Opening session Software technology G. Tonelli and P. TafforeauMarkus Voelter Software technology Bruce Eckel Integration of Industrial devices Security and safety Les Hatton Status reports 1 Hardware Infrastructure management Hardware 2 Operation tools Quality Insurance Distributed Computing Project Management Control System Upgrade Tutorial Control Theory Poster session 2 Mini Oral C Mini Oral D Data Management Embedded + Real Time Process tuning + feedback Towards the future Process tuning + fdbk Technical visits Embedded + Real Time Gala Evening Mini Oral A Mini Oral B Status reports 2 Tutorial DSL Report from workshops Poster session 1 Round table with Bruce + Markus Closing session Dr Truchard