Interview with Pavel Maslov

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Pavel was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2004 he was enrolled into the faculty of Robotics and Technical Cybernetics. Pavel went to the military department of the Polytechnic University as Reserve Officer of the Anti-aircraft Rocket Forces in 2010. During his 6th year at the Polytechnic he also he worked as a volunteer in AIESEC, a global youth non-profit organization that develops leadership capabilities. Pavel earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in automation and control with honors. His master’s thesis was entitled ‘Precise control of the Stewart platform (hexapod robot)’.

In December 2010 Pavel was employed as engineer and programmer by the D. V. Efremov Scientific Research Institute of Electrophysical Apparatus, were he got involved in the ITER project, implementing a distributed control system (based upon EPICS) in ITER’s Fast Discharge, and a data acquisition system for the high-current test stand at the Pulsed Power Lab. Pavel received a Marie Curie fellowship within the oPAC project at Cosylab in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in May 2013. His main focus was the study and optimization of control systems for large physics machines, including particle accelerators, fusion reactors and radio telescopes.

What did attract you to the oPAC network? Has it fulfilled your expectations?

Back in the day (oh how many years have passed, unbelievable) I had just started to discover the area of control systems for science. Personally, I had an interest and liking of international collaboration, and oPAC was a good chance for me to get international experience (which I desperately needed), and primarily professional experience in a field that is not covered in any university course. I should point out that I was intending to go study in the US, I applied for the Fulbright grant, was considering different labs to work at. But in the end, Europe was closer and more accessible, so I changed my mind. Besides, I was advised to try Cosylab by one of the members of the EPICS community, so I decided to give it a go.

Why did you choose to go to Cosylab?

I knew Cosylab because we collaborated on the ITER project together while I was working at the Efremov Institute. They were recognised as the leader in software development and control systems maintenance for scientific installations. I would read their monthly newsletter with the latest achievements in the field and I got really hooked. I thought, that I could get very good-quality hands-on experience there. And as it turned out I never regretted :)

Can you explain in a few words what your project was about and what have you achieved?

The project was dedicated to the study of open source control systems and putting all those small tools into a single product capable of quickly managing a set of typical devices (physics sensors, valves, etc.) and integrating them in the EPICS control system. As a result I have come up with the DCDB tool, which helps accelerator personnel during commissioning of the equipment, as well as engineers and researchers, who can simply build their experiment using bottom-up approach.

What has oPAC provided you professionally?

First of all, as an engineer I didn't have proper education in Computer Science. oPAC (with the help of Cosylab) helped me to fill in the gaps and become a decent software developer. Secondly, I wasn't a particle physicist either, but rather a fusion / pulsed-power engineer. During the intense trainings, conferences and workshops that oPAC has provided, I have learned a lot in this new area, too. Last but not least, I have had a chance to meet professionals and scientists from all over the world and exchange lifelong contacts (both professional and human).

What are your professional plans now that oPAC has finished?

After oPAC had finished, I decided to gain some in-depth knowledge in the field of information systems for the enterprise. So I spent nearly six months at the laboratory of information systems of the University of Ljubljana, participating in 2 EU projects, namely AgroIT and Flexiciency.

Right now I am developing the decision support system for an EU project called Heartman together with colleagues from the Laboratory of Ambient Intelligence of the Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Generally speaking, I am planning to stay in IT and wish to become an experienced and versatile IT professional.

What will be your most cherished memory from oPAC?

I cannot define just one, everything I experienced was new and exciting to me. Perhaps, my first ever trip across Europe, visiting CERN, playing frisbee with the young fellow physicists in the campus lawn. My internship in Stockholm was great, too - playing curling, yeah! And IPAC 2014 - trying a roasted piglet on a spit with Carsten and Co. Priceless!

And the one you’d rather forget?

nah :)