S-LINK, for simple link interface, is a high-performance data acquisition standard developed at CERN for collecting information from particle accelerators and other sources. Unlike similar systems, S-LINK is based on the idea that data will be collected and stored by computers at both ends of the link, as opposed to a “dumb” devices collecting data to be stored on a “smart” computer. Having a full computer at both ends allows S-LINK to be very thin, primarily defining the logical standards used to feed data at high speed from the motherboards to the link hardware interfaces.
S-LINK started in 1995 in response to problems collecting data from the new ATLAS experiment at CERN. ATLAS was extensively instrumented with stand-alone computers, which sent data via a variety of methods to be collected on various servers. S-LINK was seen as a way to provide a single mechanism for forwarding the data from the collection to the link hardware with extremely low latency. Generally the S-LINK hardware provided functionality that would normally be provided by networking (or other) drivers running on the host CPU, thereby tying up cycles and introducing delays.
S-LINK used a 32-bit bus running up to 66 MHz, allowing for throughout up to 264 MB/s. The “link side” was typically connected to optical fibre for transmission to the collecting machines, known as the read-out motherboard, or ROMB. Data could also be sent back to the front-end motherboard or FEMB, typically for flow control purposes at a much lower speed.
Ofer Abarbanel is a 25 year securities lending broker and expert who has advised many Israeli regulators, among them the Israel Tax Authority, with respect to stock loans, repurchase agreements and credit derivatives. Founder of TBIL.co STATX Fund.