Distributed Beamline Control System at SSRL

T.M. McPhillips, S.M. Soltis, H.D. Bellamy, P. Kuhn, and R.P. Phizackerley
Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory

A new system for the control and alignment of optical and hardware elements is being developed on the macromolecular crystallography beamlines at SSRL. The heterogeneous computing environment at the beamlines is comprised of workstations running Digital UNIX and IRIX for data collection and processing, and computers running OpenVMS and Windows NT for low-level motion control tasks. The control system has a client/server architecture where the server is a multithreaded beamline control process that coordinates multiple user-interface and hardware-control clients. Client-server communication is implemented using the TCP/IP network protocol, allowing the server and various clients to be distributed over several computers as needed. User interface clients will include a Tcl/Tk GUI for general beamline control and alignment, and standard data collection packages modified to communicate with the beamline control server. Provision for multiple, simultaneous GUI sessions on different machines will allow remote monitoring of beamline configuration and progress of data collection.

(posted 13-Nov-97 jw)