The Karabo Universe

The beauty of the European XFEL control system


Visualisations of the exchange of data across the European XFEL control system network can take on an art-like quality, and demonstrate how visual illustrations of data can help engineers do their jobs.

These 3D connective networks of European XFEL’s main software control system “Karabo” show European XFEL engineers in a clear and intuitive way where data is being generated and shared and how different parts of the system interact with each other.

Karabo is the main software control system used at European XFEL for the management of the scientific instruments and those parts of the tunnel network that transport X-ray photons. Karabo is a distributed software system which consists of many small pluggable components. These components, also known as devices, connect to, for example, hardware to process data, or create higher-level procedures and functionality. Devices come in distinct “flavors”, also known as classes. Devices cannot run on their own, but instead need a device server to host them. Multiple devices can run on the same device server, and multiple device servers can run on the same physical hardware, or host. The highest hierarchical level of organization within Karabo is known as a topic. All devices in the same topic can communicate with each other, and to the control system used by DESY for the electron part of the accelerator known as DOOCS.

The networks you see here depict devices coloured according to their type, that is what hardware they can connect with, or what data processing functionality they implement. The lines show connections between devices, either in that they pass data among each other, or reference other devices to interact with them to produce more complex functionality.

View of the Karabo control window