The past two months have been very good to us with five journal articles being accepted in something resembling a ketchup-effect. The most recent addition is an article entitled “Certifying Execution Time in Multicores” that was accepted by the Elsevier journal Science of Computer Programming. In essence, this article is a summary of the PhD dissertation of Vitor Rodrigues, whom I collaborated with over the past years. My main contribution to this work is proposing the latency-rate model as an abstraction of the service provided by a shared resource, such as a memory. We incorporated this model into Vitors timing analysis tool based on abstract interpretation to enable scalable timing analysis of multi-core platforms with shared resources.
I have recently accepted an invitation to speak at the First TCRTS Workshop on Certifiable Multicore Avionics Systems (CMAS), which takes place on April 13 and is co-located with RTAS 2015 in Seattle. The presentation is made in collaboration with Jan Nowotsch at Airbus Group Innovations, where I was a Visiting Researcher during two months last year. The title of the presentation is Towards Certifiable Resource Sharing in Safety-Critical Multi-Core Real-Time Systems and discusses current problems and state-of-the-art methods for resource sharing in real-time multi-core platforms. The abstract of the presentation is found below:
The proliferation of multi-core platforms has had great impact on embedded computing. Multiple cores exploiting task-level parallelism offer performance far beyond what is possible with a single core, while staying within an acceptable power envelope. Since resources, such as interconnect and memories, are often shared between cores, the platforms have also become increasingly cost efficient. However, resource sharing results in interference between concurrently executing applications, which causes problems in real-time systems where such interference must be either bounded or completely eliminated. As a result, safety-critical systems, for example in the avionics domain, have not yet been able to capitalize on the benefits of multi-core platforms due to stringent certification requirements.
This presentation discusses the state-of-the-art in resource sharing in multi-core systems and its application to safety-critical real-time systems. First, a survey of efforts to build time-predictable resources, such as interconnects and memory controllers, is provided. Then, software-based interference mitigation mechanisms and analyses for these resources in commercial-of-the-shelf platforms are discussed. This is followed by an overview of the approach proposed by Airbus Group Innovations to manage interference and compute worst-case execution times of applications running on a Freescale P4080 multi-core platform. The presentation is concluded by highlighting open issues and future directions towards certifiable resource sharing in safety-critical multi-core real-time systems.
Update: The slides are available here.
I am now back from my two month research visit at Airbus Group Innovations. During my stay, I primarily worked on two things:
- Performance analysis of memory accesses in two COTS multi-core platforms. My work extended existing analysis to include the configuration of the memory controller. In particular, the existing setup was improved to enable evaluation of rank-level parallelism within a memory controller, channel parallelism between memory controllers, and different mapping options of cores to memory channels.
- I familiarized myself with the certification process for the avionics domain by reading and discussing key standardization documents, e.g. DO-178C for software certification, DO-254 for hardware certification, and DO-297 for integrated modular avionics. I also read several position papers from the Certification Authorities Software Team, most importantly about partitioning guidelines and certification of dual-core platforms. Lastly, I read the ARINC 653 standard, which details the application interface commonly used in avionics systems.
Thanks to Jan Nowotsch and Stefan Schneele for making the visit possible and to my office mates for providing a fun environment to work and learn in.