The ReadoutCard Userspace Driver for the New Alice O2Computing System

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A large ion collider experiment (ALICE) experiment focuses on the study of the quark-gluon plasma as a product of heavy-ion collisions at the CERN large hadron collider (LHC). During the long shutdown 2 of the LHC in 2019-2020, a major upgrade is underway in order to cope with a hundredfold input data rate increase with peaks of up to 3.5 TB/s. This upgrade includes the new online-offline computing system called O^{2}. The O^{2} readout chain runs on commodity Linux servers equipped with custom peripheral component interconnect express (PCIe) field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-based readout cards: the PCIe Gen 3\,\,\times16 , Intel Arria 10-based common readout unit (CRU), and the PCIe Gen 2\,\,\times8 , Xilinx Vertex 6-based Common ReadOut Receiver Card (CRORC). Access to the cards is provided through the O^{2} ReadoutCard userspace driver, which handles synchronization and communication for direct memory access (DMA) transfers, provides base address registers (BAR) access, and facilitates card configuration and monitoring. The ReadoutCard driver is the lowest level interface to the readout cards within O^{2} and is in use by all central systems and detector teams of the ALICE experiment. This communication presents the architecture of the driver and the suite of tools used for card configuration and monitoring. It also discusses its interaction with the tangent subsystems within the O^{2} framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9491011
Pages (from-to)1876-1883
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'The ReadoutCard Userspace Driver for the New Alice O2Computing System'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this