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The CERTAINTY project (CErtification of Real-Time Applications desIgNed for Mixed CriticaliTY) aims to be a key enabler of the certification process for mixed-critical embedded systems featuring functions dependent on information of varying confidence levels. Such a certification process is particularly needed in the avionic, automotive and automation domains, where concurrent functions with real-time and safety-critical requirements are a reality. CERTAINTY intends to introduce a disruptive methodology for the design of complex critical applications, allowing composition of safety and time criticality aspects, taking into account disturbances as elements of the problem space, identifying analysis methods and techniques supporting this new approach, and to demonstrate the applicability of these techniques through meaningful examples of complex control functions.

Within the CERTAINTY project, the ETHZ team is dealing with the challenge of providing an environment for specifying parallel mixed-criticality applications, mapping them to large-scale multi-core architectures, such as the Kalray MPPA-256 ®, and analyzing their performance. In principle, we try to tackle this challenge by:

  • using dedicated specification model and programming interface for complex mixed-criticality applications,
  • using dedicated specification model for multi-core resource sharing platforms,
  • applying appropriate methods for design-space exploration, e.g. mapping and scheduling optimization,
  • analyzing the timing properties of the applications while accounting for the contention on the shared platform resources, e.g. the memory path.

Being under steady development, the resulting environment is the Distributed Operation Layer for Mixed-Criticality Applications (DOL-Critical). It extends the established frameworks of: Distributed Operation Layer (DOL), applied successfully in the SHAPES (Scalable software Hardware Architecture Platform for Embedded Systems) project, and Distributed Application Layer (DAL), introduced in the EURETILE (EUropean REference TILed architecture Experiment) project.

  • Distributed Operation Layer for Mixed-Criticality Applications: DOL-Critical is a software development framework for parallel mixed-criticality applications. DOL-Critical allows to specify applications with multiple criticality levels and different task activation patterns, where inter-task communication occurs asynchronously through mailboxes (FIFO queues) and/or blackboards. DOL-Critical enables mapping optimization under a flexible time-triggered multi-core and mixed-criticality scheduling policy. For the evaluation of potential mapping solutions, timing analysis is integrated with interference analysis for the shared platform resources, namely the timing effects of shared memory contention are accounted for. Moreover, DOL-Critical provides an XML-based specification format to describe the resulting implementation of a parallel application on a multi-core platform, including mapping and scheduling. To validate the functional correctness of applications specified in DOL-Critical, a simulation engine is provided.

Within the CERTAINTY project, DOL-Critical is used to optimize the deployment of a flight management system onto the Kalray MPPA-256 platform.