Dec 06, 2023
The EPICS community document-athon

Engineers from Irfu's Division of Systems Engineering (DIS), co-managers of several EPICS sub-projects, took part in a particularly rewarding "Document-athon" experience, both technically and humanely.

EPICS is a collection of open-source software tools for managing the control-system part of an experiment. This is a vast and complex subject, which is constantly evolving and therefore needs to be properly documented. This documentation effort requires a lot of resources. The Document-athon aims to bring EPICS contributors together, physically and virtually, and work on various topics related to the EPICS documentation. It is also a unique opportunity to share ideas with colleagues from all over the world on a wide range of subjects: common problems, working methods, technical solutions (adopted or under study), etc.

The website now centralizes almost all EPICS tools and aims to become the central/preferred location for its documentation.




What is EPICS?

"Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System": EPICS is a collection of software tools designed to manage the control-system aspects of an experiment. This includes data acquisition, data visualization, data processing, alarm systems, archiving systems, control interfaces used by operators, etc.

In addition, EPICS is an Open Source project, which means that the source code of the underlying software is freely accessible, modifiable, and redistributable. In other words, contributions are fairly open, and any contributor can contribute to the project (with community validation).


The EPICS community document-athon

View of the Harps acquisition system on the SBCT (Section Beam Current Transmission) of the SARAF (Soreq Applied Research Accelerator Facility) project located at the SNRC (Soreq Nuclear Research Center).

The EPICS community document-athon

View of the vacuum control system around the SNS (Spallation Neutron Source) Chopper at ORNL (Oak Ridge National Laboratory).

What is a Document-athon?

The Document-athon consists of bringing EPICS contributors together physically (and also virtually) at a table, to work on various topics related to the EPICS documentation. Very similar events—in which Irfu's DIS engineers have already taken part—are the "Codeathon", where contributors get together to develop the various software tools that make up EPICS. Any EPICS user (even a beginner) can become a contributor; all it takes is to express their interest when these events are organized. Tasks are then assigned according to experience and preferences.


Supervison view of SARAF injector and SARAF MEBT (Medium Energy Beam Transport)


What are the benefits of a Document-athon?

This collaborative work helps to bind the community together, encourage exchanges between different facilities around the world, and also to "invest" in the project.
Indeed, they are many benefits to this kind of investment, for example in the context of EPICS:

  • By contributing on such a regular basis, Irfu's vision is increasingly represented within the EPICS project (which helps to provide reassurance from a governance point of view).
  • Members of the LDISC laboratory who take part in these events benefit quite significantly from a technical point of view, and the increase in skills is undeniable.
  • At these events, the fruits of their labor directly benefit all their colleagues. Whether it's documentation or software development, all users ultimately benefit from this work.

As a result of their participation, a network of privileged contacts is buiding up, contacts who can answer questions or offer advice.


#5212 - Last update : 01/12 2024


Retour en haut