RTNS Outstanding Paper Award and Best Student Paper Award

The 27th International Conference on Real-Time Networks and Systems (RTNS) in Toulouse, France is over. Our paper “Response Time Analysis of Multiframe Mixed-Criticality Systems” received not one, but two awards! Before the conference, we were notified that it had received an Outstanding Paper Award, as listed in the conference program. During the conference, we also learned that it received a Best Student Paper Award. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Ishfaq Hussain, PhD student at CISTER and first author of the paper. This seems like a good start of a distinguished research career.

Journal Article Presented at ECRTS 2019

Today, Ali presented our Real-time Systems article “Uneven Memory Regulation for Scheduling IMA Applications on Multi-core Platforms” in the Journal-to-conference (J2C) session at ECRTS.

This article addresses the problem of resource sharing in mixed-criticality systems through temporal isolation by extending the state-of-the-art Single-Core Equivalence (SCE) framework in three ways: 1) we extend the theoretical toolkit for the SCE framework by considering EDF and server-based scheduling, instead of partitioned fixed-priority scheduling, 2) we support uneven memory access budgets on a per-server basis, rather than just on a per-core basis, and 3) we formulate an Integer-Linear Programming Model (ILP) guaranteed to find a feasible mapping of a given set of servers to processors, including their execution time and memory access budgets, if such a mapping exists. Our experiments with synthetic task sets confirm that considerable improvement in schedulability can result from the use of per-server memory access budgets under the SCE framework.

Overall, I greatly appreciate that key conferences in the real-time community are starting to allow journal articles to be presented. This increases the exposure of these works that are often longer and better edited. It is also helpful for researchers at the institutes where conference publications are not considered a relevant KPI. You can argue the validity of this reasoning in areas of computer science where conferences are highly competitive with 20-30% acceptance rates, but it is reality for some researchers. An interesting thing with the MODELS conference is that they collaborate with the SOSYM journal such that some accepted articles in the journal gets a full slot at the conference. This is a nice way to highlight good articles and to appreciate the work done by both authors and reviewers.

Paper Accepted at EMSOFT 2019

Our collaboration with CISTER has been extremely fruitful this year, as yet another paper in our research line on mixed-criticality scheduling has been accepted. This latest paper is entitled “Techniques and Analysis for Mixed-criticality Scheduling with Mode-dependent Server Execution Budgets” and has been accepted at the International Conference on Embedded Software (EMSOFT).

The goal of this work is, like many other in this research line, is to reduce cost of mixed-criticality systems. This time, we achieve this by addressing the limitation that a server only has a single execution budget in all modes, despite that their computational requirements may vary significantly. More specifically, the three main contributions of the paper are: 1) a scheduling arrangement for uni-processor systems employing fixed-priority scheduling within periodic servers, whose budgets are dynamically adjusted at run-time in the event of a mode change, 2) a new schedulability analysis for such systems, and 3) heuristic algorithms for assigning budgets to servers in different modes and ordering the execution of the servers. Experiments with synthetic task sets demonstrate considerable improvements (up to 52.8%)

Paper Accepted at RTNS 2019

The paper “Response Time Analysis of Multiframe Mixed-Criticality Systems” has been accepted at RTNS 2019. This work is the next in our mixed-criticality research line, in collaboration with my former colleagues at CISTER. It continues our work on the multi-frame task model, also considered in our RTCSA paper this year. The multi-frame model describes tasks that have different worst-case execution times for each job, following a known pattern, which can be exploited to reduce the cost of the system. Existing schedulability analyses fail to leverage this characteristic, potentially resulting in pessimism and increased system cost.

In this paper, we present a schedulability analysis for the multi-frame mixed-criticality model. Our work extends both the analysis techniques for Static Mixed-Cricality scheduling (SMC) and Adaptive Mixed-Criticality scheduling (AMC), on one hand, and the schedulability analysis for multi-frame task systems on the other. Our proposed worst-case response time (WCRT) analysis for multi-frame mixed-criticality systems is considerably less pessimistic than applying the SMC, AMC-rtb and AMC-max tests obliviously to the WCET variation patterns. Experimental evaluation with synthetic task sets demonstrates up to 63.8% higher scheduling success ratio compared to the best of the frame-oblivious tests.

Paper Accepted at WMC 2018

A paper entitled “Decoupling Criticality and Importance in Mixed-Criticality Scheduling” has been accepted at the 6th International Workshop on Mixed Criticality Systems (WMC).The paper addresses the need for more expressive task models for mixed-criticality systems by presenting an extension to the well-known mode-based adaptive mixed-criticality model by Vestal. The proposed model allows a task’s criticality and its importance to be specified independently from each other. A task’s importance is the criterion that determines its presence in different system modes. Meanwhile, the task’s criticality (reflected in its Safety Integrity Level (SIL) and defining the rules for its software development process), prescribes the degree of conservativeness for the task’s estimated WCET during schedulability testing.

We indicate how such a task model can help resolve some of the perceived weaknesses of the Vestal model, in terms of how it is interpreted, and demonstrate how the existing scheduling tests for the classic variant’s of Vestal’s model can be mapped to the new task model essentially without changes.

Paper Accepted at RTCSA 2018

We celebrate the acceptance of our paper “Mixed-criticality Scheduling with Dynamic Memory Bandwidth Regulation” at RTCSA. This paper is the next step in my research collaboration with CISTER on mixed-criticality systems.

The paper aims to safely reduce the cost of mixed-criticality multi-core systems by addressing inefficient usage of memory bandwidth. This is achieved by combining per-core memory access regulation with the well-established Vestal model, which improves on the state-of-the-art in two respects: 1) We allow the memory access budgets of the cores to be dynamically adjusted, when the system undergoes a mode change, reflecting the different needs in each mode, for better schedulability. 2) We devise memory regulation-aware and stall-aware schedulability analysis for such systems, based on AMC-max. By comparison, the state-of-the-art offered no option of dynamic adjustment of core budgets, and only offered regulation-aware schedulability analysis based on AMC-rtb, which is inherently more pessimistic. Finally, 3) we consider different task assignment and bandwidth allocation heuristics, to assess the improvement from the dynamic memory budgets and new analysis. Our results show improvements in schedulability ratio of up to 9.1% over the state-of-the-art.

Paper Accepted at DATE 2018

Another paper written with my former colleagues at CISTER has been accepted. The paper is entitled “Mixed-criticality Scheduling with Memory Bandwith Regulation” and appear at DATE 2018. The paper considers the problem that existing schedulability analyses for mixed-criticality multi-core systems do not consider task interference in shared platform resources, such as memories, potentially making them optimistic and unsafe. We address this issue by formulating a schedulability analysis for mixed-criticality fixed-priority-scheduled multi-core systems using per-core memory access regulation. We also propose multiple heuristics for memory bandwidth allocation and task-to-core assignment. The analysis and heuristics are implemented in a tool and evaluated through extensive experiments.

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.