Performance Comparison of EPICS IOC and MARTe in a Hard Real-Time Control Application

Antonio Barbalace, Gabriele Manduch, A. Neto, G. De Tommasi, F. Sartori, D. F. Valcárcel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


EPICS is used worldwide mostly for controlling accelerators and large experimental physics facilities. Although EPICS is well fit for the design and development of automation systems, which are typically VME or PLC-based systems, and for soft real-time systems, it may present several drawbacks when used to develop Hard Real-Time systems/applications especially when General Purpose Operating Systems as plain Linux are chosen. This in particular true in fusion research devices typically employing several Hard Real-Time systems, such as the magnetic control systems, that may requires strict determinism, and high performance in terms of jitter and latency, otherwise serious deterioration of important plasma parameters can happen, possibly leading to an abrupt termination of the plasma discharge.

The MARTe framework has been recently developed to fulfill the demanding requirements for such Real-Time systems that are alike to run on General Purpose Operating Systems, possibly integrated with the low-latency real-time preemption patches. MARTe has been adopted to develop a number of real-time systems in different tokamaks.

In this paper we first summarize differences and similarities between EPICS IOC and MARTe. Then we report on a set of performance measurements executed on an ×86 64bit multicore machine running Linux with an IO control algorithm implemented in an EPICS IOC and in MARTe.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2010 17th IEEE-NPSS Real Time Conference
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4244-7110-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-4244-7108-9
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2011
Event17th IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society Real-Time Conference - Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 24 May 201028 May 2010
Conference number: 17


Conference17th IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society Real-Time Conference
Abbreviated titleNPSS-RT2010


  • fusion reactor operation
  • nuclear engineering computing
  • plasma toroidal confinement
  • Tokamak devices
  • hard real-time control application
  • automation system
  • VME
  • PLC-based system
  • soft real-time system
  • plain Linux
  • fusion research devices
  • magnetic control system
  • plasma parameters
  • plasma discharge
  • low-latency real-time preemption patches
  • Tokamaks
  • IO control algorithm
  • Real time systems
  • Linux
  • Open source software
  • Control systems
  • plasma control
  • real-time control
  • real-time Linux


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