European XFEL control software Karabo released as open source

European XFEL has released the control software framework Karabo and selected Karabo devices into the public domain as free and open-source software, enabling external developers to use and adapt the code as they need. The extendable system can be used to control installations that range from single machines to highly complex research facilities, such as the European XFEL.

Since its first inception in 2011, the European XFEL control system has been developed into a modern, distributed software framework that enables control and monitoring of the photon systems and instrumentation at the facility, as well as data acquisition from X-ray detectors capable of megahertz frame rates. It is highly interoperable with DOOCS, a similar system developed at DESY that is used to control the European XFEL accelerator.

“Karabo is a distributed system which, thanks to the use of a modern message broker, can run on a single computer or on hundreds of servers, and which has grown with the facility,” emphasizes Dennis Goeries from the Controls group, who leads the development team responsible for the framework. “It is also highly scalable—it can run on a small system on a chip such as a Raspberry PI or on a system with tens of computing cores.”

“Functionality can be added to the core system through so-called devices,” explains Wajid Ehsan, head of the team developing the devices that are used throughout the European XFEL facility. “This enables Karabo developers to integrate hardware, define high-level procedures, and implement data acquisition, so they can tailor the system precisely to the facility they want to control.” At the European XFEL, the Karabo control system handles about 3.7 million control parameters on 30 000 devices over 13 major installations.

Read more on the European XFEL website

Image: Current and former Karabo contributors at the open-source release event.

Credit: European XFEL/Kai-Erik Ballak