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COMPASS Tokamak Control and Data Acquisition System

For the COMPASS Tokamak, currently being installed in Prague, Czech Republic, its whole control and data acquisition system is being redesigned and built from scratch based also on the ATCA standard.

The platform contains one ATCA controller with a Gigabit Ethernet interface, up to 12 ATCA Digitizer-Generator-Processor (DGP) cards and trigger and clock inputs, all on a 12U shelf. The multi-core x86-based General Purpose Processor (GPP) controller will be connected to the DGP cards by Peripheral Component Interconnect ExpressTM(PCIe) point-to-point links through the ATCA backplane. Multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) signal processing will be shared by the DGP cards using the built-in Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) and the controller’s x86 general processor. Eleven AuroraTM2.5 Gbit/s links allow further parallelization of the execution of code among several FPGAs. In order to guarantee real-time execution of the control codes a framework based on Linux and the Real-Time Application Interface (RTAI) will be used. This will explore the features provided by the new multi-core technologies. Synchronization between the subsystems will be guaranteed by a real-time event network.

The interface to the system will be provided by the FireSignal control and data acquisition system. This will allow the operators and diagnostic coordinators to configure the hardware, prepare the discharges, pre-program events of interest and follow results from the discharge. FireSignal will also orchestrate the data flow coming from the different diagnostics into the database and to registered data clients.


M. Hron et al., “Control, data acquisition, and communication system for the COMPASS tokamak”, 25th Symposium on Fusion technology, 15-19 September, 2008, Rostock, Germany

Valcárcel, A. Neto, J. Sousa, B.B. Carvalho, H. Fernandes, J.C. Fortunato et al., “An ATCA Embedded Data Acquisition and Control System for the Compass Tokamak”, Fusion Engineering and Design, in press

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