Using Real Time Workshop for rapid and reliable control implementation in the Frascati Tokamak Upgrade Feedback Control System running under RTAI-GNU/Linux

C. Centioli, F. Iannone, M. Ledauphin, M. Panella, L. Pangione, S. Podda, V. Vitale, L. Zaccarian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


The Feedback Control System running at FTU has been recently ported from a commercial platform (based on LynxOS) to an open-source GNU/Linux-based RTAI-LXRT platform, thereby, obtaining significant performance and cost improvements. Based on the new open-source platform, it is now possible to experiment novel control strategies aimed at improving the robustness and accuracy of the feedback control. Nevertheless, the implementation of control ideas still requires a great deal of coding of the control algorithms that, if carried out manually, may be prone to coding errors, therefore time consuming both in the development phase and in the subsequent validation tests consisting of dedicated experiments carried out on FTU. In this paper, we report on recent developments based on Mathworks' Simulink and Real Time Workshop (RTW) packages to obtain a user-friendly environment where the real time code implementing novel control algorithms can be easily generated, tested and validated. Thanks to this new tool, the control designer only needs to specify the block diagram of the control task (namely, a high level and functional description of the new algorithm under consideration) and the corresponding real time code generation and testing is completely automated without any need of dedicated experiments. In the paper, the necessary work carried out to adapt the Real Time Workshop to our RTAI-LXRT context will be illustrated. A necessary re-organization of the previous real time software, aimed at incorporating the code coming from the adapted RTW, will also be discussed. Moreover, we will report on a performance comparison between the code obtained using the automated RTW-based procedure and the hand-written C code, appropriately optimised; at the moment, a preliminary performance comparison consisting of dummy algorithms has shown that the code automatically generated from RTW is faster (about 30% up) than the manually written one. This preliminary result combined with the fact that the use of RTW eliminates the coding workload leads to the conclusion that this approach to control implementation grants significant advantages. According to the FTU experiment program, the actual deployment of the new tool is scheduled for the next experimental campaign. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593 - 597
Number of pages5
JournalFusion Engineering and Design
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

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