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Speeding up science

Software engineers from across Europe are working together to improve the speed and accuracy of science results from particle accelerators.

A new workshop that took place at ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (ISIS) at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), aimed at developing innovative software for motion control, brought together engineers from ISIS, the European Spallation Source (ESS) in Sweden and the Jülich Centre for Research with Neutrons (JCNS) in Germany. While general motion control workshops already exist, participants saw a need for a workshop specific to software.

Motion control is the automated movement of objects, most commonly used in applications for remote controlled cars and industrial robots. Motion control systems are capable of extremely precise speed and positioning.

The team’s development of this next generation of software will move ISIS towards more advanced motion applications that will speed up the process of aligning instruments and improve the science capability of some of ISIS’ instruments.

Better synchronised components will lead to faster, more accurate instruments that will make the process of running experiments much quicker. Synchronising motion systems to the neutron pulse will give scientists more information to verify their scientific data.

ISIS Mechatronic Systems Engineer Simon Cooper said: “We’re trying to build a collaborative and international cross-facility group for the development of this Motion Control software. Whilst this is just ISIS, ESS, and JCNS for now, I would love to see this expand in the future.”

The collaboration hopes to develop best practice principles that all three facilities can use in terms of software and project management. For all the facilities represented at the workshop, this should improve the quality of user experiments and provide technical expertise to solve common problems.

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Last updated: 23 May 2019


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