EPICS is a set of software tools and applications developed collaboratively and used to create distributed soft real-time control systems for scientific instruments such as particle accelerators and telescopes. Such distributed control systems typically comprise tens or even hundreds of computers, networked together to allow communication between them and to provide control and feedback of the various parts of the device from a central control room, or even remotely over the internet. EPICS uses Client/Server and Publish/Subscribe techniques to communicate between the various computers. A Channel Access Gateway allows engineers and physicists elsewhere in the building to examine the current state of the IOCs, but prevents them from making unauthorized adjustments to the running system. In many cases the engineers can make a secure internet connection from home to diagnose and fix faults without having to travel to the site.
EPICS is used by many facilities worldwide, including the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, Keck Observatory, Laboratori Nazionali di Legnaro, Brazilian Synchrotron Light Source, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Australian Synchrotron, and Stanford Linear Accellerator Center.