Engineering Aspects of Computing Systems for Accelerator based Light Sources

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: Different characterization methods that rely on electron accelerator technology, in particular synchrotron light sources, have become major research tools for expanding fields in various natural sciences. While traditionally physics research has been the motivation for new accelerator facilities and system designs, newly emerging areas in life sciences, molecular sciences and material science are additionally driving forces today.Light sources and similar research facilities rely heavily on computing systems to fulfill their tasks. The application areas of computing systems include system control and monitoring tasks, data acquisition and processing, networks and a variety of information technology related services, both for in-house users and visiting research groups.Previous research on computing systems for light sources has usually been focused on technical designs and solutions for particular systems, mostly motivated from natural science point of views. This thesis describes the field of computing systems for light sources as a research field of its own, with its special properties, challenges, and relations to other engineering fields in the accelerator world. Further, this thesis evaluates relevant technologies for computing systems with a focus on accelerator facility control system frameworks. Best practices in the development of computing systems are introduced, and related to Systems Engineering (SE) and system lifecycle management.The thesis elaborates a work process framework encompassing organizational and technical processes concerning computing systems at light sources, which is based on the ISO/IEC 15288 standard. The framework enhances work process analysis and improvements, and consequently the effective and efficient achievement of facility goals. An improved approach for Requirements Engineering concerning computing systems at light sources is introduced. Further, a compilation and evaluation of modern design principles and guidelines for controls and IT groups is presented.As a research field, engineering of computing systems for light sources represents a part of the development of a complex socio-technical system. As such, this research field faces particular challenges and properties, such as the uniqueness and often prototypical character of the systems and complex relations of stakeholder interests. The thesis presents and discusses a research approach customized to this research field, both to allow for a holistic approach (using SE) and to accommodate for the practical research constraints. This concerns the study of technical and non-technical research subjects, the basis for scientific study and reasoning, and the role of the researcher as active participant in the field. Finally, an outlook is given on further research opportunities in the field.The thesis work has been accompanying, and been part of, the design and construction of the MAX IV facility, a new state-of-the-art synchrotron based light source in Lund, Sweden.