The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest
Posted: March 31, 2009
IMEC launches research to improve dynamic behavior of embedded systems
(Nanowerk News) To deal
with the increasing dynamism in (networked) embedded systems, IMEC launches
a new research program. This program will focus on moving the management of
the system's resources from the design phase to runtime software solutions.
The resulting embedded systems will be more flexible and efficient, and
will have a shorter time-to-market. Systems that would profit from such
improved dynamism are, for example, multimedia appliances, from servers to
mobile devices, standalone or connected in a video processing network.
Other examples are cognitive radios, sensor networks, body area networks,
or smart energy grid applications.
Today's embedded systems operate under increasingly dynamic conditions.
They have to support unpredictable interaction with users or with the
environment. And they should work with widely varying input data,
downloadable software, online services, and a wider range of software
applications than is traditionally supported by embedded systems.
Worst-case system designs take into account all this unpredictability
upfront, resulting in overallocated resources, higher costs and longer
time-to-market. In addition, embedded systems that are connected in a
network also have to deal with the dynamism and unpredictability of
distributed systems, further increasing the design challenges. This forces
designers of embedded systems to consider alternatives to the traditional
IMEC's new research program will examine methods to optimally exploit the
flexibility offered by modern hardware platforms and networks. These have
the hardware that is needed to implement a more dynamic behavior: multiple
heterogeneous processing cores, including general-purpose processors. And
in a distributed setting, the number and variety of available processing
elements is even larger. This allows more flexibility to select processing
resources for executing software, not only at design time, but also at run
The goal of IMEC's program is to create a run-time resource manager that
addresses the dynamically changing conditions and makes a trade-off between
processing availability and type, communication bandwidth, power
consumption, or any other relevant constraint, while meeting the required
quality of service. In addition, the program will contribute to the
software infrastructure that exchanges information with the run-time
manager. Different versions of this infrastructure will range from
light-weight to advanced, depending on the openness of the software
development methods used in a particular project. Advanced infrastructure
will offer techniques such as virtualization, managed code, just-in-time
compilation and optimization.