U.S. Particle Accelerator School

EPICS Control Systems course

Sponsoring University:

Texas A&M University


EPICS Control Systems


Andrew Johnson and W. Eric Norum, Argonne National Lab

Purpose and Audience
This course will introduce students to the tools and techniques used to develop distributed control system applications with the EPICS (Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System) toolkit, emphasizing the IOC (Input Output Controller) side of development more than the construction or use of client applications. The audience for this course will include electronic engineers, software developers, scientists and operators at laboratories and experimental facilities that are using or considering the use of EPICS.

A working knowledge of using Linux and/or Unix from the shell, and preferably some experience of C/C++ programming.

By the end of this course, students will:
* Understand the general architecture of a control system based on EPICS.
* Know the capabilities of the Channel Access protocol and client library.
* Be able to use various Channel Access client programs to access and display information from an IOC.
* Understand the EPICS database concepts of records, fields and links, record processing, device support and alarms.
* Be able to create, debug and run simple soft IOC control applications using databases and State Notation Language.
* Understand the ways in which EPICS can be extended to interface with new kinds of hardware and software.

Instructional Method
The course consists of lectures and practical exercises in roughly equal proportion. Students will also be given a homework project to complete. All exercises and assignments will require the use of EPICS tools on workstations
running Linux, for which students will work together in groups of 2 or 3 per PC.

Course Content
The course will be based on recent versions of EPICS Base, the SNL Sequencer, and various Extensions packages.

Reading Requirements
There are no required texts. The course will refer to the latest applicable versions of the EPICS documentation, available online through the classroom workstations.

Credit Requirements
Students will be evaluated based on their project work (50%) and final exam (50%).