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A Tool for Supporting and Automating the Development of Component-based Embedded Systems

By: Rafael L. Cancian, Marcelo R. Stemmer, Alexandre Schulter, Antônio A. M. Fröhlich

Abstract

Embedded systems are comprised of hardware and software and usually run dedicated applications in environments with highly restricted resources, such as memory constrained devices, microcontrollers with low processing power, and wireless sensors running on batteries. These systems must exactly match applications' requirements, with minimum support. The growth in application complexity and even more strong constraints demand new approaches, methodologies, and tools to assist embedded systems development. Usually, in this domain, reuse of components, architectural transparency, low overhead, and reconfigurability are essential features. The Application-Oriented System Design (AOSD) method was created to deal with these issues, and aims at guiding the development of embedded systems that exactly match application requirements. To deliver each application a tailored run-time support system calls for a good combination of object oriented techniques, the separation of functional and non-functional aspects, some implementation techniques, and a sophisticated tool that helps the developer in managing component configurations and automating the generation of embedded systems. This paper describes a configuration and system generation tool that is being successfully used with EPOS (Embedded and Parallel Operating System), an OS developed using AOSD. This tool receives the application source-code (using EPOS API) as input and, after a few mouse clicks, builds the entire computational support, comprised by software and, if hardware is reconfigurable, the FPGA configuration file. This paper also shows that the design of these tools allows them to be used for configuring and building several other systems, not only EPOS. The development of this tool enabled the configuration and generation of several embedded systems instances for several different architectures in an automatic way. To illustrate this process and the tool's usage, this paper describes a case study of the generation of an embedded system that supports a simple audio decoder application.

Cite as:

Rafael L. Cancian, Marcelo R. Stemmer, Alexandre Schulter, Antônio A. M. Fröhlich, “A Tool for Supporting and Automating the Development of Component-based Embedded Systems”, Journal of Object Technology, Volume 6, no. 9 (October 2007), pp. 399-416, doi:10.5381/jot.2007.6.9.a20.

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