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Real-Time and Embedded Systems

Just as the Internet has grown at a phenomenal rate since its inception, so too have processors that are not connected to an open network, per se, but that provide useful functionality nonetheless. All but the simplest of electrical devices feature an embedded processor today. Why? Because embedding intelligence in a device provides value to consumers. Televisions, coffee pots, telephones, microwave ovens, automobiles, traffic lights, home-climate systems, room air conditioners, CD players, radios, refrigerators, dishwashers, washers and dryers . . . there seems no end to the devices and products that include intelligent processors to meet emerging consumer expectations. And just as the Internet brings great value by connected computing nodes, embedded networks (EmNets) bring great value to real-time and embedded processors. Indeed, the coupling of EmNets and the Internet will provide interesting opportunities in myriad directions over the next few years.

EmNets, especially those with hard real-time requirements,[41] demand tighter specifications and particular sensibilities, typically not required in NDC development. But with the growing integration of real-time and embedded systems intended to leverage and share general-purpose platforms, all developers face design and architectural challenges in managing these newly shared resources. As embedded systems are applied to diverse and potentially adverse environments, appropriate protection of performance characteristics must be ensured. All this has led to increased need for design methodologies for system and application software, operating-system support mechanisms, and resource and application control techniques for these novel forms of embedded systems.

When NDC meets these newly emerging real-time and embedded systems, areas of interest can include such diverse topics as these:

  • OS support for mixed response requirements

  • Real-time applications in COTS operating systems (e.g., Linux)

  • Real-time software components

  • Novel kernel-level mechanisms

  • Open architectures for resource control

  • Embedded control applications

  • Secure real-time systems

  • Middleware support

  • Java implementation and applications

  • Power-aware resource management

  • QoS-aware application design

  • System modeling and analysis

As real-time and embedded networks are knitted together and emerge as services available from the World Wide Web, the sensibilities of each general category (for example, time-bound versus time-agnostic) will influence and impact the other. Further, NDC developers will increasingly become more time aware, even if hard real-time requirements do not immediately constrain network application development.

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