Real-time and Embedded Systems M (2006-2007)
Real-time, reactive and embedded systems are widely and increasingly used throughout society (e.g. flight control, railway signalling, medical devices and telephony). An understanding of the fundamentals of real-time & embedded systems is essential for the development of process control systems and should be a pre-requisite for anyone developing software for safety-critical applications. This module provides in-depth study of the key techniques used in designing, programming and analysing concurrent reactive real-time embedded and networked systems.
The emphasis in this module is on the technical foundations of reactive, real-time and embedded systems as used in safety-critical applications. This module was designed in conjunction with, and is usually intended to be taken alongside, the Modelling Reactive Systems 4 module. However, these two modules are not formally co-requisites as they develop different skills and knowledge and can stand freely of one another. This module contrasts with the Safety Critical Systems Development 4 module, which takes a much wider ranging view of safety-critical systems.
Aims and Objectives
To introduce and explore the programming language and operating systems facilities essential to the implementation of real-time, reactive, embedded and networked systems. To provide the participants with an understanding of the practical engineering issues raised by the design and programming of reactive real-time embedded and networked systems.
By the end of this module participants should be able to:
- Clearly differentiate the different issues that arise in designing soft and hard real-time, concurrent, reactive, safety-critical and embedded systems.
- Explain the various concepts of time that arise in real-time systems.
- Analyse and apply a variety of static and dynamic scheduling mechanisms suitable for soft and hard real-time systems. Perform simple performance and schedulability analysis to demonstrate that a system successfully meets real-time constraints.
- Explain the additional problems that arise in developing distributed and networked real-time systems.
- Describe the design and implementation of systems that support real-time applications. Justify and critique the facilities provided by real-time operating systems and networks.
- Design, construct and analyse a small, concurrent, reactive, real-time system. Select and use appropriate engineering techniques, and explain the effect of application and system design decisions on the behaviour of such a system.
Students are expected to have done degree-level studies in, and be familiar with, operating systems design and implementation, concurrency and threaded programming, and software analysis and design. Some basic familiarity with formal process modelling techniques for concurrent systems would complement the engineering issues addressed in this module. This corresponds to some of the material covered in the OS3, AP3, NSA3 and PSD3 modules of a Glasgow Computing Science degree.
The module will consist of 20 lectures and associated tutorials and laboratory sessions. The following subjects will be covered (this list is indicative of the likely course content rather than being an exact prescription):
- Introduction to reactive, real-time and safety-critical systems: examples and problems.
- Timing, Clocks, Delays and Timing Constraints.
- Sensors, polling and interrupt handling: the engineering of reactive systems.
- Interacting with embedded systems (using device drivers & interrupt handlers)
- Reliability and fault-tolerance in safety critical systems.
- Efficiency and performance analysis.
- Software engineering for embedded systems
- Interacting with hardware
- Debugging low-level systems
- Introduction to firmware programming
- Scheduling in soft real-time systems.
- Hard real-time on stock systems.
- Real-time operating systems.
- Real-time in embedded systems.
- Software engineering for real-time systems.
- Soft real-time in distributed systems.
- Quality of Service in the OS and isochronous systems (or another advanced topic).
As part of the module coursework, the participants will have designed, constructed and analysed a small, concurrent, reactive, real-time system, using appropriate design techniques. If facilities permit participants will also have designed and implemented a small embedded or networked real-time system.
- Jane W. S. Liu, "Real-Time Systems", Prentice Hall, 2000, ISBN 0130996513 (required for all students).
- Bill Gallmeister, "POSIX.4: Programming for the Real-World", O'Reilly and Associates, 1995, ISBN 1565920740 (optional, but provides useful background).
- Edward A. Lee, Absolutely Positively on Time: What Would It Take?, IEEE Computer, July 2005 (required).
- David Gay et al., The nesC Language: A Holistic Approach to Networked Embedded Systems, Proceedings of PLDI'03, San Diego, CA, USA, June 2003 (required).
This is a 10-credit, level M module, which is an elective component of the Advanced MSc in Computing Science and the MSci in Computing Science. It may also be taken as a fourth year elective by single, combined and joint honours students in Computing Science, Software Engineering, Electronics & Software Engineering and related degrees.
The module will be assessed by a combination of examination (70%), coursework (15%) and a practical system design and development exercise (15%).
Past exam papers:
- Lecture 1: Introduction to Real-Time Systems
- Lecture 2: A Reference Model for Real-Time Systems
- Lecture 3: Overview of Real-Time Scheduling
- Lecture 4: Clock-Driven Scheduling
- Lecture 5: Priority-driven Scheduling of Periodic Tasks (1)
- Lecture 6: Priority-driven Scheduling of Periodic Tasks (2)
- Lecture 7: Priority-driven Scheduling of Aperiodic and Sporadic Tasks (1)
- Lecture 8: Priority-driven Scheduling of Aperiodic and Sporadic Tasks (2)
- Lecture 9: Implementing Scheduling Algorithms
- Lecture 10: Real-Time Operating Systems and Languages (1)
- Lecture 11: Real-Time Operating Systems and Languages (2)
- Lecture 12: Real-Time on General Purpose Systems
- Lecture 13: Resource Access Control (1)
- Lecture 14: Resource Access Control (2)
- Lecture 15: Introduction to Real-Time Communications
- Lecture 16: Real-Time Communication on IP Networks
- Lecture 17: Quality of Service for Packet Networks
- Lecture 18: Low Level and Embedded Programming (1)
- Lecture 19: Low Level and Embedded Programming (2)
- Lecture 20: Review of Major Concepts