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Forschungs-zentrum Jülich (FZJ)
Dr. Tobias Stockmanns
Work Package Leader

Email:  t stockmanns does-not-exist.fz-juelich de

Intelligent Programmable Electronics


Intelligent programmable electronics combines the speed of hardwired electronic components with the flexibility of a software program. It is an indispensable component of all modern data acquisition systems. For the future it is wished to use programmable components directly at the detector (“The programmable Detector”). This opens completely new possibilities to pre-process, select and combine detector data which is necessary to realize data transmission speeds which are needed in future experiments. Together with an optical data transmission close to the detector and the use of fast data processing algorithms intelligent programmable hardware will become the backbone of modern high rate experiments.

Goals and activities

The goal of this work package is to make it possible that intelligent programmable hardware can be used in an environment with a high radiation exposure. Therefore the following development steps are planned: interconnection of the participating groups including external results, test of existing hardware for radiation tolerance, development and test of correction algorithms and to stay in close contact with the hardware developers.

Because the development of the software for an intelligent programmable hardware is complex, time consuming and expensive, it is planned to simplify the development steps. This holds true not only for the use close to the detector but also for conventional DAQ systems and is taken as one of the most important goals of this work package by all participating centers. The use of synergies between the participating centers has an enormous potential to reduce development times and costs. It is planned to evaluate existing systems and to determine the need for future developments, define common standards and adopt them if needed to the use cases as well as the development of a common base system.

To simplify the programming the following points shall be addressed: collection of all developed function modules (so called IP cores) in the centers and deployment within the Helmholtz Association, standardization of interfaces and modularization of program components, common development of additionally needed IP cores, selection of common development tools, common acquisition of licenses for development tools and IP cores as well as the evaluation of new high level languages.

For the optimization of the communication between the developers a contact person in each center is being defined, field of activities collected, databases of the different projects set up, a communication platform installed, common workshops and trainings organized and joint projects defined and realized.

Task allocation

All centers participate actively in the networking of the different developer groups and work together on the definition of standards and development tools. In addition the following tasks are taken by the centers:

DESY Evaluation of new FPGA architectures. Together with KIT: Evaluation of new high level languages, determination of the specific requirements and development of standardized systems in the field of synchrotron radiation.
FZJ Determination of specific requirements and development of standardized systems for applications in the field of hadron scattering and neutron physics, development and test of algorithms to increase the radiation tolerance and coordination of the networking between the centers.
GSI Allocation of radiation sites with the possibility of a 2D micro scan of ASICs and FPGAs for the systematic determination of radiation induced malfunction.
HZB Allocation of radiation sites for testing of hardware components at the cyclotron and the co-source of HZB. Development of a common base system with a demonstrator using delay-line readout for two dimensional neutron or X-ray detection.
HZDR Together with experienced FPGA, DSP and CPLD developers trainings will be compiled for beginners with the emphasis on a physical or medical environment.
HZG Support for the application-related realization and test of hardware components at synchrotron radiation or neutron measurement sites of the HZG at DESY and FRM II.
KIT Methods to increase the radiation tolerance. Together with DESY: Evaluation of new high level languages and determination of the specific requirements as well as the development of a standardized system for applications in the field of synchrotron radiation.


2012 Organization of a common developer workshop
2013 Setup of a common IP database
2014 Test of the radiation tolerance of existing FPGAs Concept of a common base system