Talk: The PANDA Strip ASIC (PASTA)

Subtitle: Current status of the development
 for the MVD silicon strip front-end
Slides: 15
Duration: ~20 minutes

Date: 02 April 2015
Occasion: IKP-1 group meeting seminar
Location: IKP meeting room, FZ Jülich
Audience: People from IKP-1, mainly physicists working on PANDA but also other hadron physics experiments

Huh, that was close, I almost missed my turn at the weekly seminar. Luckily, I just presented my work the week before, so I could reuse most of the things from there. I put in three more slides because I have some more time to explain.

The talk went smooth, no complains here. Some interesting questions afterwards about radiation effects and protection, even I could learn something here.

View on Speaker Deck | Download PDF (3.5 MB)


Week #165 – DPG Meeting

23 – 27 March

It is meeting March, that means not only PANDA meeting time but also DPG, the German physics association. I wanted to keep my stay there as short as possible, therefore I skip Monday and go to the institute. I try to finish some things with the digital design to get a decent screenshot but end up doing it from home. Just in time for the conference.

From Tuesday till Thursday I’m joining the DPG spring meeting, this time in Heidelberg for hadron and nuclear physics. The conference is well organized, coffee breaks are decent, the talks are, well, talks at the DPG. I don’t really like the concept of 12 minute talks, because you never really understand what the others are doing unless you already know some things about their topic. There is just not enough time. On the other hand you want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to talk, so it has to be brief.

Nonetheless, on Thursday I also give my talk about PASTA. The physics analysis is not quite ready to be presented outside the collaboration. On Friday I go back to Aachen with the plan of getting something done, but the week was more exhausting than expected. So I postpone my writing plans to the weekend, which works all the better.


Talk: The PANDA Strip ASIC (PASTA)

Subtitle: A Free-Running Readout ASIC for
 Silicon Strip Sensors in PANDA
Slides: 12
Duration: 12+3 minutes

Date: 26 March 2015
Occasion: DPG spring conference
Location: DPG meeting 2015 (Heidelberg), HK 50.2 (instrumentation)
Audience: Physicists, mainly from Germany, interested in instrumentation

My talk at the DPG meeting was quite good, I would say. The talk was prepared rather quickly, I didn’t have to change that much, and the presentation went smooth. I wanted to say some things more or different here and there, but at the end I’m pleased with the result.

I got some questions about signal to noise ratio and something else I can’t remember right now. Anyhow, this is good, that means people were actually listening. I even got into a 20 minute conversation about my project after the session.

View on Speaker Deck | Download PDF (3.9 MB)


Week #164 – PANDA Meeting

16 – 20 March

Three months are over, it is PANDA meeting time again. So on Monday morning, I drive to Gießen and have three packed days of talks, discussions, and social evenings. It was good and it felt efficient. On Tuesday afternoon I give my talk in the hyperon session (password is the title of this blog), the first time that I’m not talking about electronics but physics.

On Wednesday I drive back home so that I can use at least the two other days for my work and writing. One of the days I write a script that automatically creates and generates a composed screenshot of the digital design. The problem is, that exporting is not well supported, so one can only make screenshots of the current display. This works fine if the design is small, but for larger scales this just gives you a colored brick (the resolution is not high enough).

My idea was, to move the current display of the zoomed design, take a screenshot, move it again, screenshot, … and so on until I have a bunch of tiles of the whole design. This then gets merged together to one big image. At the end of the day, I have it running. Unfortunately, the design itself was an old version, so I first have to generate the proper one.


Sublime Text 3: use latexmk with ‚-shell-escape‘

Not only me, but also Andi spent an awful lot of time on this issue: get Sublime Text 3 (with LaTeXTools) to compile a LaTeX document with the -shell-escape option. The option enables shell execution of programs from within pdflatex to include external programs. We needed that for the minted package which supplies syntax highlighting to code blocks by accessing the Pygments library. But other LaTeX plugins require -shell-escape as well, so here is how we got it running:

Edit the file

~/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 3/Packages/LaTeXTools/builders/traditionalBuilder.py

and look for the definition of DEFAULT_COMMAND_LATEXMK. Add an -shell-escape after the %E so that the definition looks like:

DEFAULT_COMMAND_LATEXMK = ["latexmk", "-cd",
				"-e", "$pdflatex = '%E -shell-escape -interaction=nonstopmode -synctex=1 %S %O'",
				"-f", "-pdf"]

After this change, restart Sublime Text 3. This is not a good solution because it alters the plugin and might get overwritten with a future update. But at least it runs. Credits go to Andi for finding this.

Bonus: minted and memoir

As a bonus, I got an additional error when trying to compile the document with both minted and memoir packages enabled:

usr/local/texlive/2014/texmf-dist/tex/latex/float/float.sty:68: LaTeX Error: Command \newfloat already defined. [      {}}}]

I don’t exactly know what is going on here, but apparently it’s a conflict between these two packages1. My quick’n’dirty hack is the following:


Solution from this discussion.

  1. Or maybe another one and minted, but who knows. (La)TeX is this »special« language amongst the programming languages which get’s sulky sometimes for no obvious reason. []

Week #163

9 – 13 March

On the weekend I started preparing the talk for the upcoming DPG meeting. I have a rehearsal talk on Wednesday, which went quite good. Only small modifications have to be done.

Otherwise, I started the week by continuing the analysis of my track filter. It’s effects turn out to be slight but significant, at least for most particles in my decay. So it seems to be a good idea to have it in since it is (probably1) reducing the unreasonable reconstructed tracks.

On Thursday we have our biweekly supervisor meeting. The others are going in first, so I have a quick look at what the particle identification does in my case. For the meeting I have a first plot ready, good. After the meeting we have the majority of DPG test talks.

On Friday I continue my analysis macro which is taking care of getting data from the previous steps, combining decayed particles to their mother and filtering what is reasonable here. The last part is the most interesting, but for that I need to figure out what the „resonable“ means in my case.

  1. Our collaboration still has to decide on which tracks are actually reconstructable and which just deliver too less hits. []

Week #162

2 – 6 March

I spend the first days trying to install our experiment’s software framework (PandaRoot) on my MacBook. It should work, at least in the most recent version. Strangely though, it does not. I get some errors related with graphics output, specifically a libpng version conflict. This was a known bug in an older root version, but the given workaround didn’t work for me (and the bug shouldn’t appear in the first place).

After two days of downloading, recompiling, changing parameters, and more recompiling I give up. At the end I have an installation which basically works but a certain program of the framework doesn’t. It is not important to get data, but a very helpful tool to investigate what is going on.

The rest of the week I spend finishing my track filter and start to have a look, what is coming out of that. Or, to be more specific, what the filter is throwing away. After struggeling a bit with how exactly I have to access the data properly I get a skeleton of the script ready until the end of the week.

PASTA: The submission deadline was Monday, which we couldn’t make but more for technical reasons (the wafer was full already). Nontheless, the design is ready, so finally I can fully concentrate my work on the analysis.


Week #161

23 – 27 February

The week starts with a meeting with the professor. I don’t have many new plots because I’m still working on the basic classes to create the data. So I’m explaining what I’m doing and the progress with PASTA. The first time since I give these reports I have a good feeling that the ASIC is realistically close to submission.

After the meeting I continue with the task I started with last week. Eventually, I get it done in the week, but working on it was interrupted by a meeting on Wednesday. We have an online meeting for the branch of hadron physics my channel falls into. To inform people what I’m working on right now, I combine a few plots together and give a first presentation about my cascade simulation (password is the title of this blog).

PASTA: Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in1. On Thursday afternoon I got the info that the other designers found another check they can do on the design concerning antenna violations. The test checks for long neighboring lines which work as antennas and might pick up signals from the other line. This will lead to noise and in the worst case to a defective design. The interesting thing is that my design checks these violations and corrects them automatically. Apparently, it is not thorough enough because the other tool, which the other designers used, found some violations. So on Friday we try to find a solution to that and decide at the end that I cannot do anything useful. This has to be corrected by hand 🙁 Luckily, it seems that this can be done and shouldn’t prohibit us from submitting the design.

  1. Source: The Godfather III. []