Advanced Controls Systems Department

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ACS designs and implements solutions via common high performance controls hardware platforms, embedded real-time systems software and application firmware for LCLS and other facilities at SLAC. ACS deploys and commissions solutions in coordination with technicians and engineers from the Electrical Engineering Divsion (EED) of Accelerator Division (AD), and the LCLS Controls and Data Systems division in LCLS. The ACS department also provides and maintains core software tools, APIs and building blocks to build reliable and robust control systems for the LCLS and other SLAC facilities.  The department currently maintains and provides the EPICS Toolkit, EPICS drivers, software high level application frameworks, middle-ware services, and training to AD/EED and Controls and Data Systems Division (CDS). ACS also provides system engineering, system architecture consultation and design support to the LCLS II and LCLS upgrade projects in close coordination with AD/EED and LCLS/CDS.

Key Competencies

Embedded systems

Design and development of embedded systems to support control and data acquisition systems for science facilities and experiments, is a core competency within ACS. The scope includes design and development of real-time embedded systems for high performance control and data acquisition systems, advanced firmware-based control and signal processing algorithms, linux kernel drivers for control and data acquisition hardware, cross-compilation toolchains, integration of firmware-based control systems to high level distributed control systems, research and evaluation of new technologies and new hardware platforms for embedded systems.

Software Infrastructure and Application Frameworks 

This core expertise relates to the design and development of application frameworks and provides systems and architecture design services and software infrastructure as well as training to support controls, data acquisition and physics applications for science facilities and experiments. The scope includes design, development and support of the EPICS distributed controls framework, application frameworks for controls, data acquisition and physics applications, software infrastructure for development and deployment of controls, physics and machine learning initiatives across the lab, training for EPICS as well as software development best practices (version control, software carpentry, etc), research of new technologies in the field of distributed systems, user interfaces, programming languages, automation and their application to control and data acquisition systems.


The Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System (EPICS) is a set of Open Source software tools, libraries and applications developed collaboratively and used worldwide to create distributed soft real-time control systems for scientific instruments such as particle accelerators, telescopes and other large scientific experiments. ACS is the main SLAC resource for the development, maintenance, and support of EPICS across the lab.



Common Platform Controls and Monitoring Systems

Common Platform Controls and Monitoring Systems

Modular design allows independent upgrades of front end and digital processing as technology advances. Main ATCA module includes FPGA, memory and power circuits. Standard high-speed digital interface to front-end card plu-ins. Common hardware and firmware on FPGA module. Quick low-cost turnaround to add custom mixed-signal plug-in cards for new applications.