Paper Accepted at SCOPES 2017

Hazem had a paper entitled “Combining Dataflow Applications and Real-time Task Sets on Multi-core Platforms” accepted at the 2017 Workshop on Software and Compilers for Embedded Systems (SCOPES). This paper is a short overview of his PhD dissertation, which will be defended in Porto on May 23, and explains an approach to map and schedule a multi-/many-core system containing both applications described as traditional real-time task sets and synchronous data-flow graphs. Hazem’s approach is to convert the data-flow graph into a periodic real-time task set to unify the models before mapping, which enables him to leverage existing real-time analysis techniques and schedulers. However, converting a complex data-flow graph into a periodic task set may result in a large number of tasks, resulting in long analysis times. To mitigate this problem, he proposes a slack-based merging algorithm that allows the number of tasks to be reduced by carefully sacrificing parallelism in the data-flow graph, subject to its latency and throughput constraints. Lastly, the resulting unified real-time task set is mapped to a multi-/many-core platform interconnected by a TDM NoC using a sensitive-path-first algorithm, which first allocates tasks derived from the original data-flow graph that have the highest impact on its execution and schedulability. It is also able to exploit parallelism in graph during mapping.

We hope you enjoy the paper and wish Hazem all the best for his upcoming defense.

Paper Accepted at ECRTS 2017

Our paper “Mixed-criticality Scheduling with Dynamic Redistribution of Shared Cache” has been accepted at ECRTS 2017, marking the end of yet another succesful collaboration with my former colleagues at CISTER. The paper proposes an extension of Vestal’s model for mixed-criticality multi-core systems that 1) accounts for the per-task partitioning of the last-level cache, and 2) supports dynamic reassignment of cache portions initially reserved for lower-criticality tasks to the higher-criticality tasks when switching to high-criticality mode. A schedulability analysis based on partitioned EDF is presented that is aware of the cache resources assigned to each task and leverages the dynamic reconfiguration to improve schedulability. We also propose heuristics for partitioning the cache in low- and high-criticality mode. Experimental result indicate tangible improvements in schedulability compared to a baseline cache-aware arrangement where there is no redistribution of cache resources from low- to high-criticality tasks in the event of a mode change.

Paper Accepted at RTAS

A paper entitled “Partitioning and Analysis of the Network-on-Chip on a COTS Many-Core Platform” was recently accepted for publication at RTAS. This paper was a collaboration with former colleagues at the CISTER Research Unit, as well as friends from MDH in Sweden. The paper addresses the issue of interference between applications in many-core platforms interconnected using rate-regulated Networks-on-Chip (NoC), such as the Kalray MPPA. The main contributions of the paper are 1) a partitioning strategy for reducing contention on the NoC, 2) an analysis technique to determine the Worst-Case Traversal Time of packages under the proposed strategy, and 3) a method to determine parameters for the NoCs rate regulators to get minimal WCTT and ensure that buffers never overflow. The benefits of the proposed approach is evaluated both using simulation and by experiments on a Kalray MPPA. Furthermore, an industrial case study from the automotive domain shows the tightness of the proposed analysis.

Outstanding Paper Award at ECRTS

I am pleased to announce that our paper “Cache-Persistence-Aware Response-Time Analysis for Fixed-Priority Preemptive Systems” got an Outstanding Paper Award at the Euromicro Conference on Real-Time Systems (ECRTS) in Toulouse. We are glad that the work was well-received and hope that the community will enjoy reading the paper.

Journal Article Accepted in ACM TODAES

We just received the good news that Hazem’s article “ Reducing the Complexity of Dataflow Graphs using Slack-based Merging” has been accepted for publication in ACM Transactions on Design Automation of Electronic Systems (TODAES). The article addresses an important problem when working with synchronous data-flow (SDF) graphs, namely that the size of the graph explodes when transforming it to its equivalent homogeneous (HSDF) representation, which prevents any design or analysis algorithms requiring this transformation as a first step from scaling to larger graphs. In the scope of Hazem’s work, this has caused problems when converting an SDF graph into a set of independent periodic real-time tasks.

This article proposes a heuristic algorithm to reduce the size of the resulting HSDF graph prior to analysis by merging actors in the graph, thereby speeding up analysis algorithms using the resulting graph. Three key properties of the algorithm are: 1) it cannot violate the latency or throughput requirements of the original graph, 2) it cannot cause deadlock in the resulting merged graph, and 3) only HSDF actors corresponding to firings of the same SDF actor can be merged to enable the resulting merged graph to be efficiently used by mapping algorithms. The behavior of the algorithm is evaluated with applications from the SDF3 benchmark suite and it is compared to results of an optimal exhaustive merging algorithm for smaller graphs.

Two Papers Accepted at ECRTS 2016!

Two papers have been accepted for presentation at the 28th Euromicro Conference on Real-Time Systems (ECRTS 2016) in Toulouse, France. The first paper is entitled “Cache-Persistence-Aware Response-Time Analysis for Fixed-Priority Preemptive Systems” as is a collaboration with Syed Aftab Rashid, Geoffrey Nelissen, and Eduardo Tovar from CISTER and Damien Hardy and Isabelle Puaut from University of Rennes. This paper presents a WCRT analysis for single-core fixed-priority preemptive systems that exploits persistent cache blocks that are known to be in the cache to reduce WCRT.

The title of the second paper is “Contention-Free Execution of Automotive Applications on a Clustered Many-Core Platform” that was written together with Borislav Nikolic and Vincent Nelis from CISTER, Matthias Becker and Thomas Nolte from MRTC, and Dakshina Dasari from Bosch. This work presents a contention-free execution framework for automotive applications on many-core platforms, which combines privatization of memory banks together with defined access phases to shared memory resources. An Integer Linear Programming (ILP) formulation is presented to find the optimal time-triggered schedule for execution as well as for accesses to shared memory. Additionally, a heuristic solution is presented that generates the schedule in a fraction of the time required by the ILP.

New Position at TNO-ESI

Today, I started a new position as a Research Fellow at Embedded Systems Innovation by TNO (TNO-ESI) in Eindhoven. TNO-ESI is a leading Dutch research group for high-tech embedded systems design and engineering. It has a close cooperation with high-tech industry, as well as a strong association with fundamental research of academia, both national and international. This means I am now transitioning to applied science in an industrial setting and I look forward to the new challenges and opportunities that entails.

I want to thank the good people a CISTER for the time I have spent with the unit. I find it a very nice place to work with good researchers and a friendly atmosphere. I appreciate the intellectual freedom I had to pursue my ideas and interests, as well as the interesting collaborations and growth opportunities I got sucked into. I hope we will have the pleasure of working together again in the future.

Hazem Ali in HiPEAC Newsletter

Last year, my PhD student Hazem Ali got a HiPEAC collaboration grant sponsoring a three month visit in the Electronic Systems group at Eindhoven University of Technology, hosted by Dr. Sander Stuijk. The topic of the joint research is related to the borderland between data-flow and traditional real-time analysis. On page 15 in the latest issue of the HiPEAC Newsletter, you can read more about his stay.

Temporary Contract with CISTER

My contract with Czech Technical University in Prague has run its course. However, the good people at the CISTER/INESC TEC research unit at the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, my former employer, was quick to offer me a temporary contract until a new long-term plan is in place. At my new job, I will continue my research on real-time embedded systems, just like before, as well as preparing project proposals to fund future research. I thank CISTER for the opportunity and look forward work with them again!

Article Accepted in Real-Time Systems Journal

A journal article entitled “A Framework for Memory Contention Analysis in Multi-Core Platforms” has been accepted for publication in Real-Time Systems. This article is a collaboration with Dakshina Dasari and Vincent Nelis and is a result from the time I spent with the CISTER-ISEP Research Unit in Porto.

The article proposes a unified framework to bound memory interference in multi-core platforms for a variety of different arbiters, such as time-division multiplexing (TDM), fixed priority, and an unspecified work-conserving arbiter. Our framework clearly demarcates the arbiter-dependent and independent stages in the analysis of interference. The arbiter-dependent phase takes the arbiter and the task memory-traffic pattern as inputs and produces a model of the availability of the bus to a given task. Then, based on the availability of the bus, the arbiter-independent phase determines the worst-case request-release scenario that maximizes the interference experienced by the tasks due to memory contention. We experimentally evaluate the quality of the analysis by comparison with a state-of-the-art TDM analysis approach and consistently showing a considerable reduction in maximum interference.