NSTX-U control system upgrades

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The National Spherical Tokamak Experiment (NSTX) is undergoing a wealth of upgrades (NSTX-U). These upgrades, especially including an elongated pulse length, require broad changes to the control system that has served NSTX well. A new fiber serial Front Panel Data Port input and output (I/O) stream will supersede the aging copper parallel version. Driver support for the new I/O and cyber security concerns require updating the operating system from Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) v4 to RedHawk (based on RHEL) v6. While the basic control system continues to use the General Atomics Plasma Control System (GA PCS), the effort to forward port the entire software package to run under 64-bit Linux instead of 32-bit Linux included PCS modifications subsequently shared with GA and other PCS users. Software updates focused on three key areas: (1) code modernization through coding standards (C99/C11), (2) code portability and maintainability through use of the GA PCS code generator, and (3) support of 64-bit platforms. Central to the control system upgrade is the use of a complete real time (RT) Linux platform provided by Concurrent Computer Corporation, consisting of a computer (iHawk), an operating system and drivers (RedHawk), and RT tools (NightStar). Strong vendor support coupled with an extensive RT toolset influenced this decision. The new real-time Linux platform, I/O, and software engineering will foster enhanced capability and performance for NSTX-U plasma control. © 2014 The Authors.




Erickson, K. G., Gates, D. A., Gerhardt, S. P., Lawson, J. E., Mozulay, R., Sichta, P., & Tchilinguirian, G. J. (2014). NSTX-U control system upgrades. Fusion Engineering and Design, 89(6), 853–858. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fusengdes.2014.04.069

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