Trends and Challenges in Embedded Systems – CoDeVer and HiBu Experiences
Øystein Ra and Torbjørn Strøm Department of Computing Buskerud College N-3601 Kongsberg, NORWAY Abstract
Software programmable components interacting with dedicated hardware constitute embedded systems. Such systems are typically application specific systems containing software, hardware and communication channels tailored for a particular task. They are generally part of a larger system and are often candidates for (sub)system-on-a-chip realizations, SOCs; software offering features and flexibility and hardware offering performance. Apart from flexibility and performance, typical metrics include reliability, cost, size, weight, EMC and power constraints. Many such applications in the IT-systems industry have continually changing specifications, and success depends strongly on time-to-market. This calls for a suitable and improved process development model recognizing product life cycles and an efficient and integrated SW/HW-development path. We give a survey of technology trends, future possibilities and current limitations along with a presentation of the “CoDeVer” project and our own efforts within the framework of this project. CoDeVer results will be tested by Norwegian companies ahead of NIK 2002 and the conclusions presented at the conference.
The development of the information society has had a major effect on all industries. To stay competitive, IT-companies mediating such effects have to invest in human talent, and to identify development methodologies, tools and techniques that are capable of efficiently exploiting the ever advancing semiconductor technology. Both the pace of change in this technology and the complexity of the problems to be solved, are increasing. Embedded systems technology will be a key building block in nearly all intelligent products. This is a yet-evolving product class calling on technology from other classes, e.g. software, microprocessors, memory, analog and mixed signal systems, and reprogrammable circuits (FPGAs). The principal embedded system types comprise: • • • Reactive Systems reacting continuously to the environment at the speed of the environment; Interactive systems reacting to the environment at their own speed; Transformational systems taking a body of input data and transforming it into a body of output data.
Among these our focus will be kept on Reactive Systems. Such systems comprise typical target areas as: Consumer Electronics (e.g. microwave ovens, digital cameras, compact disk players); Telecommunications (e.g. telephone switches, cellular phones); Automotive (e.g. engine controllers, anti-lock brake controllers); Plant control (e.g. robots, plant monitors, airplane control systems, missile guidance systems). It is noteworthy that embedded system are often tightly constrained with regard to cost, reliability, size, performance and EMC and power consumption, i.e. they must often process data in real time while consuming a minimum of power to extend battery life and/or prevent the necessity of a cooling fan. The physical constraints set embedded SW aside from other SW. The importance of embedded systems is illustrated by the statements "It is now common knowledge that more than 70% of the development costs for complex systems such as automotive electronics and communication systems are due to software development…" and " For many products in the area of consumer electronics the amount of code is doubling every two year" (A. Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, Univ. of Cali.f at Berkeley1999), and by the following figure extracted from http://www.computerworld.com/
94 % (5 billion chips) of the world market is embedded microprocessors vs 6% PC/WS! ”Processors for PC’s, workstations and servers get all the attention, but embedded microprocessors make the world go ’round”
”Old microprocessors rarely die, and they hardly ever fade away - they just become embedded”;...
References:  Hennessy J: The Future of Systems Research, IEEE Computer, 27-32, August 1999.  De Micheli G and Sami G: Hardware Software CO-DESIGN, Kluwer Academic Publisher, 1996, ISBN 0-7923-3883-9  Tabbara B, Tabbara A, and Sangiovanni-Vincentelli A, Function/Architecture Optimization and Co-Design of Embedded Systems, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000, ISBN 0-7923-7985-3  Gomaa H, Designing Concurrent, Distributed, and Real-Time Applications with UML, Addison Wesley, 2000, ISBN 0-201-65793-7  Strøm T and Ra Ø, Towards a common software/hardware development process using UML, to be published by CoDeVer as part of the CoDeVer Handbook, September 2002.
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