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IceCube Live

IceCube Live real time display at the IceCube Project Offices in Madison, Wisconsin

IceCube Live is the experiment control system for IceCube. A substantial upgrade to the systems it replaced, it meets the following challenges:

  • Provide reliable control of one or more data acquisition systems running in parallel, plus additional components which are stopped or started asynchronously;
  • Provide monitoring and logging endpoint for all on-line detector subsystems;
  • Provide real-time feedback on the state of the experiment to hundreds of collaborators world-wide;
  • Provide command-line and secure Web-based user interfaces for operators at the South Pole and in the Northern Hemisphere;
  • Provide real-time chat feature for multiple, simultaneous operators;
  • Provide all of the above with limited satellite connectivity using lower-level IceCube transport mechanisms built on the Iridium network of communications satellites;
  • Support actual South Pole system, the mirror test system in Madison, WI, and local, stand-alone test instances.

After a year of continuous develop/test/deploy iterations, the first 1.0 release of IceCube Live was deployed in early 2009. The current 1.7.3 revision is in daily use by the IceCube Collaboration; many improvements are in progress, based on additional features requested by users.

IceCube Live consists of a Python control framework deployed at the Pole and multiple Django -based Web sites as the user interface for collaborators. Thanks in part to the expressive power of Python and Django, the bulk of the requirements were met in less than 1 year with 1 FTE-equivalent of effort.


“Compared to similar resources for ATLAS [a large particle detector on the LHC collider at CERN], the IceCube Live system looks quite professional.”

—The IceCube Run Coordinator, former ATLAS collaborator

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