Real-time collaboration delivers for fusion computing

CCFE 25/11/2016

A key computing system for the ITER international fusion device is now being trialled at JET following a collaboration by teams from CCFE, ITER Organization and Fusion for Energy.

CODASAdam Stephen, CODAS project manager at Culham, teamed up with his counterparts Bertrand Bauvir and Andre Neto to integrate the ITER “Synchronous Databus Network” on the live JET machine.

The Synchronous Databus Network consists of “a high performance software/hardware stack for interconnecting diagnostic and control systems on a tokamak”, Adam Stephen explains. “The equivalent Real-Time Data Network system on JET is a core part of the plasma control system and has delivered ever-increasing functionality to the fusion scientists over the last decade.” What was needed to further improve JET equipment was “a real-time Ethernet feed of data to a new visualisation service that would give physicists a better live view of key JET measurements”. Installing the ITER system was a chance to do that, while at the same time validating the network on an operational fusion experiment ahead of ITER’s start-up in 2025.

Thanks to the intensive work and resourcefulness of the team, and the strong backing and support from each of the organisations, the equipment was installed in only three days, a rapid success that was warmly welcomed by Andrew Hynes, CCFE’s head of CODAS&IT, Anders Wallander, Head of ITER CODAC and Filippo Sartori, Head of Fusion for Energy’s Instrumentation & Control.

The project has provided enhanced control room tools by integrating ITER software with state-of-the-art data visualisation tools from the JET data analysis group. It has also paved the way for the future evolution of the JET real-time data network using up-to-date maintainable software and hardware. Importantly, the compatibility with ITER equipment further opens the possibility of integrating and testing future ITER systems on JET.
Finally, according to Adam Stephen ”it has demonstrated a powerful collaboration model between the three fusion organisations in which co-operation for mutual benefit has achieved rapid delivery and success.”

Image: From components to integrated solution in less than three days. From top left clockwise: Daniel Valcarcel (CCFE Plasma Operations Group), Andre Neto (Fusion for Energy), Alex Goodyear (CCFE CODAS+IT), Bertrand Bauvir (ITER Organization, CODAC), Danny Sortino (Bath University Placement student at CCFE CODAS+IT).