Program Tracks

  1. Project Status Reports
  2. Project Management and Collaboration
  3. Integrating Complex or Diverse Systems
  4. Knowledge-based Techniques
  5. Personnel Safety and Machine Protection
  6. Hardware Technology
  7. Timing and Sync
  8. Software Technology Evolution
  9. Experiment Control
  10. Feedback Systems
  11. User Interfaces and Tools
  12. Data Management and Processing
  13. Control Systems Infrastructure
  14. Control Systems Upgrades

1. Project Status Reports
Co-chairs: John Maclean, Hamid Shoaee, Anders Wallander & Ryotaro Tanaka

The Status Reports track presents an overview of new or upgraded experimental physics facilities with a control system perspective. Status Reports typically cover the stages of a project from the conceptual proposal through commissioning. 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. Project Management and Collaboration
Co-chairs: Pascale Betinelli, Lou Corvetti & Andrew Starritt

This track encompasses three areas. In the first, Project Management, time, cost, quality, and system engineering processes are covered. In addition, good practices within our community and good practices with respect to tools coming from industry that work in our community will be discussed, as well as quality assurance in terms of how to meet the needs of the customers and users.

Software Management Tools is the second area in this track, which includes software configuration management, issue tracking, and quality test and deployment.

Collaboration is the third topic, which encompasses sharing a goal between people in different institutes and countries, as well as between institutes and industries. How collaboration can influence industries is considered, along with managing issues and success. An example of good collaboration should be presented: what is working, which process should be followed.

Addressing complexity with scarce resources will also be discussed. For example, exchange programs for resource facilities, collaboration, teaching, and mentoring, including examples of collaborations with outcomes and examples of managing a changing requirement.

3. Integrating Complex or Diverse Systems
Co-chairs: Philippe Gayet & Gordon Brunton

This track deals with issues involved in designing control systems for a new or upgraded facililty, as well as re-engineering and maintaining existing control systems. It covers architectures, technologies, frameworks or methods employed for implementation of:

  • complex control systems incorporating heterogeneous components
  • integration of heterogeneous control systems, such as accelerator and utility controls systems

As control systems are often built with a mixture of industrial off-the-shelf and homemade heterogeneous components, the goal is to identify trends and emerging technologies together with successfully adopted approaches and answers to the following questions:

  • What is the driving paradigm to design the control system?
  • What is the best method for creating control system coupling level analysis, i.e., what is the level of integration required between process control and the protection and safety systems?
  • Could developers just rely on the application of standards  (middleware, industrial protocol,
    international standards...)?
  • What is the level of customization needed when using off-the-shelf components?
  • What is the best approach for dealing with heterogeneous components and real-time performance requirements when users and systems span long physical distances?
  • How should scalability issues be tackled?
  • How are low-level controls components integrated together and coordinated at a higher level?
  • In the present era of fast-paced technological advances, how can further evolution be considered?

4. Knowledge-based Techniques
Co-chairs: Jean-Michel Chaize & Marco Lonza

It is a common belief that computer systems can perform better than humans if provided with human-like capabilities such as learning, adaptation, understanding and abstraction. This track covers a wide spectrum of techniques used to address the commissioning and operation of complex plants, where simple data representation and analysis are not sufficient. These techniques make use of acquired knowledge and previously gained experience to understand and interpret behaviors or phenomena and eventually help humans or computers to solve problems or make decisions. Heuristic and knowledge-based processes and methodologies for tuning and optimizing experimental physics facilities are also of interest. Possible topics for this track would include:

  • Use of models and simulators
  • Optimization techniques
  • Adaptive correction systems
  • Predictive analysis and diagnosis
  • Statistical and post mortem analysis
  • Complex indicators for preventive maintenance
  • Decision making and problem solving
  • Fuzzy logic, neural networks, genetic algorithms
  • Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems

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5. Personnel Safety and Machine Protection
Co-chairs: Mike Mouat, Enzo Carrone & Markus Zerlauth

This track presents the role and implications of personnel, environmental and machine protection systems in large, experimental physics control systems. Topical areas, such as the following, will be included:

Aspects of Safety/Protection Systems: This area discusses topics such as the specification/design/implementation/commissioning processes and details, interlock considerations, interactions with other facility controls systems, required reliability, machine up-time, availability and maintainability.

Operational Experience/Lessons learned: What has gone wrong/can go wrong in control systems and what can we learn, including incorrect specifications, omitted safety requirements, random hardware failures, systematic hardware failures, software errors, common cause failures and environmental influences?

Human Factors: This area addresses ensuring that the man/machine interface contributes positively to successful, reduced-risk operation and ease of use.

6. Hardware Technology
Co-chairs: Javier Serrano & Daniel Travares

This track focuses on hardware design as applied to the operation of large physics facilities, with an emphasis on collaborative efforts among laboratories and companies using Open Source Hardware practices. The following topics will be highlighted:

  • Hardware standards: FMC, VME, VXS, VPX, xTCA, PCI/PCIe, PXI/PXIe...
  • Printed circuit board (PCB) design
  • Programmable logic design, System-on-Chip (SoC) design, including embedded processors in Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA)
  • Data links for distributed controls and data acquisition
  • Radiation-hardened design
  • Design tools
  • Reliability and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)
  • Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) systems, both open source and proprietar
  • Upgrade and maintenance strategies

7. Timing Sync
Co-chairs: Stephane Perez & Kazuro Furukawa

This track covers timing and synchronization issues in data acquisition and controls for burst, one shot or continous systems. High precision timestamping as well as synchronisation are main issues in Big Physics installations.

As examples, telescopes need long-term stability for data acquisitions, and synchrotrons and accelerators need to synchronize beams and timestamp numerous events. Laser experiments are also concerned with picosecond ranges.

Papers should demonstrate the way precision, stability and jitter are handled in applications that need femtosecond as well as several seconds, possibly, in the wide area up to kilometers range. The following elements are of particular interest:

  • Temperature control issue
  • The use of hardware platforms like the CERN White Rabbit, pr MRF event system
  • Software processing
  • Network Time Protocol (NTP)
  • Standard protocols for timing systems (IEEE 1588, 802.1AS)
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
  • Hardware effects

8. Software Technology Evolution
Co-chairs: Juan Guzman & Glanluca Chiozzi

This track covers what is new or in plan for control systems and the software technologies to build them. This includes new methods in software engineering as well as new technologies 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. The following topics are discussed:

Control System Evolution: Reports on evolution of or newest additions and performance improvements to control system toolkits (EPICS, TANGO, DOOCS, ALMA ACS, ACNET, ...)

Middleware Technology: Reports on performance and scalability of middleware and the usage of web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA)

Advanced Software Development Techniques: New programming languages (Scala, CoffeScript, etc.), compilers, software deployment, business Intelligence, model-based development, domain-specific languages and code generation

Realtime Software: Reports on the evolution of Realtime OS and Realtime software programming. Note: GUI toolkits, web tools and integration of low and high-level components are covered in other tracks.

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9. Experiment Control
Co-chairs: Andy Gotz, Karen White & Niko Neufeld

This track is dedicated to papers on the issues specific to the control of large and small experiments. Experiment control means solving problems requiring a high degree of flexibility of the hardware and software, very high data rates, devices specific to experiments like sample environment control, interactions with the source of radiation/particles, flexible data acquisition sequences, synchronization timing of data acquisition, data and metadata management, online and offline data reduction and visualization for a large and heterogeneous user community. Topics for this track include:

  • Sequencers for data acquisition
  • Experiment automation and scanning
  • Sample environment control including robotics
  • Data analysis and visualization
  • Data formats and metadata
  • User Information Systems
  • Unattended operation
  • Remote monitoring
  • Sample management
  • Data policy

10. Feedback Systems
Co-chairs: Mark Heron, Timo Korhonen & Ge Lei

Effective commissioning and operation of modern experimental physics facilities rely on a variety of feedback and feed-forward systems. These are essential for stable operation and even become indispensable to perform the experiments. The computation requires real-time performance, achieved through processors or FPGAs. Distributed feedback systems need low latency and deterministic transport systems, together with synchronization. The successful implementation of such systems requires the integration with high-level applications, online models, archiving, data visualization and to set up, tune and optimize performance.

  • Feedback
  • Feed-forward
  • Algorithms
  • Model
  • Archiving
  • Data visualization
  • Tuning
  • Optimization
  • Latency
  • Deterministic
  • Commissioning

11. User Interfaces and Tools
Co-chairs: Eric Bjorklund, Reinhard Bacher & Alan Casey

This track focuses on how human beings interact with control systems. Topics covered in this track will include:

  • Data visualization tools (such as archive and alarm viewers, dashboards, overview panels, graphing and plotting tools)
  • Interface building tools (such as CSS, JDDD, and Web tools)
  • Reporting tools (such as electronic log books and user feedback collection tools)
  • Remote operation and collaboration tools
  • Emerging interface trends (such as virtual displays, voice and gesture controls, intelligent data display, and mobile device "Apps")

12. Data Management and Processing
Co-chairs: Nick Hauser & Matthew Bickley

Large experimental physics facilities have large and numerous datasets of configuration and experimental data. This track will address the issues arising from the storage, processing, indexing, search, retrieval and dissemination of these datasets and the hardware and software architectures, networks and tools implemented to deal with these issues. This conference will focus on policies implemented for data access, curation and deletion, and whether these policies are coping with the 'data deluge'.

13. Control Systems Infrastructure
Co-chairs: Larry Hoff, James Patrick & Renata Krempaska

This track addresses the technologies, tools and methodologies for optimizing performance, managing resources, and addressing off-normal situations across the infrastructure of networks, processing nodes, data storage systems and databases. It includes issues related to managing and accessing large archived data sets, cyber security, and the role of technologies such as virtualization as well as unified operating system installation and configuration of control system computers to meet these aims.

14. Control System Upgrades
Co-Chairs: Larry Lagin, David Fernandez-Carreiras, Peter Clout, Patrick Ledu

The control systems often experience various changes in order to carry out new experiments and get the maximum performance from the scientific installation. This track focuses on the enlargement, modifications or implementation of new capabilities in existing control systems or existing platforms and frameworks, by using new techniques and covering new domains. It also assesses the change control process and the optimization of the transition to the upgraded systems.


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