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Real-time control, analysis, and automation are critical components for fusion experimentation and tokamak operation. NI software and hardware platforms are based on off-the-shelf semiconductor and computing technology with a focus on multicore, embedded design, and control. This transforms the way engineers and scientists design, prototype, and deploy systems for real-time control, analysis, and automation.
Real-Time Tokamak Control with LabVIEW and PXI
At the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching, Germany, researchers implemented a tokamak control system to more effectively confine plasma. For the primary processing, they developed a LabVIEW application, which split up matrix multiplication operations using a data parallelism technique on an octal-core system. Researchers installed a hard real-time operating system (OS) with symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) support on an off-the-system based on an Intel multicore architecture. Researchers on the project were able to speed up the matrix multiplication operations by a factor of five while meeting the 1 ms real-time control loop rate.
LabVIEW is a platform and development environment for a graphical programming language that helps you develop, debug, and deploy large distributed systems for control and data acquisition. With the LabVIEW platform, you can readily take advantage of multicore processor performance on desktops and real-time systems and also run your applications on FPGA-based hardware targets.
PXI is the open, PC-based platform for test, measurement, and control. PXI provides the industry’s highest bandwidth and lowest latency with modular I/O for high-resolution DC to 6 GHz RF. With more than 1,200 products from more than 70 vendors, PXI is the platform of choice for thousands of companies worldwide.
The NI CompactRIO programmable automation controller (PAC) is a reconfigurable control and acquisition system designed for applications that require high performance and reliability. The system combines an open embedded architecture with small size, extreme ruggedness, and hot-swappable industrial I/O modules. CompactRIO is powered by reconfigurable I/O (RIO) FPGA technology.