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March 2011 Print

Alan Biocca, Control Systems Group Leader


The members of the Control Systems Group design, support, and maintain the control systems for the accelerator and many of the beamlines at the ALS. The Accelerator Controls Section is headed by Alan Biocca and Chris Timossi, and the Beamline Controls Section is led by Ed Domning and Brian Smith.

The Accelerator Control Section manages the system of  more than 500 computers and a dozen interconnecting networks that interface the many hundreds of magnet power supplies, current readouts, motors and encoders, vacuum pumps and gauges, temperature readouts, video cameras, and various instruments used to operate the machine and provide stable, high-quality light beams to users. These systems enable operators to run the accelerator from the control room over the network via tens of thousands of control and readout channels.

Rick Steele handles the insertion device controls; Eric Williams handles the fast feedback orbit stability control system plus many low level EPICS controls and interfaces to various instruments; Bob Gunion is migrating controls to programmable logic controllers, and handling Web and Database support; Carl Lionberger is handling various EPICS instrumentation upgrade projects; Susanna Jacobson works on power supply controls and operations support.

The Beamline Controls Section provides software and hardware support to more than 40 systems including beamlines and endstations. Paul Barale, Earl Cornell, and Yunian Lou work with Brian and Ed in this section to support these Lab-view systems.

The Controls Group also operates a number of ALS Web servers for documentation and for user and staff information on local servers and in the Amazon Cloud. Support for these servers is provided by the IT Division’s Unix Support group under Gary Jung.

Networking at the ALS is implemented by the LBNL Network Group under the direction of the Controls Group. PC and Unix/Linux support for the accelerator and many beamlines is coordinated through the Controls Group. PC support is provided by personnel from the IT division, including Craig Ikami and Cobber Lam. Jackie Scoggins and Susan James provide Unix/Linux support.

The current major projects of the Controls Group include upgrades to instrumentation and controls (see ALS feature), and to the sextupole magnets. The controls upgrade has been temporarily delayed due to funding constraints, but is expected to resume shortly, as replacement of the aging—more than 20 years old—equipment is essential to avoid major accelerator downtime.

The $8M, four year Instrumentation and Controls Upgrade will provide improvements in beam stability, beam instrumentation, controls reliability and higher feedback bandwidth while replacing the older equipment with more reliable new gear. The Sextupole Magnet Upgrade is progressing on schedule and should be completed in 2013. It will more than triple beam brightness for central bend and Superbend magnet beamlines, and reduce horizontal beam size by nearly one third.

Alan Biocca, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , x7700