Motivation: Modern embedded applications already integrate a multitude of functionalities with potentially different criticality levels into a single system and this trend is expected to grow in the near future. Further, Europe is facing a once in a lifetime challenge with the advent of multicore and the potential to integrate in a single platform systems with different levels of dependability and security, known as mixed-criticality systems integration. Without appropriate preconditions, the integration of mixed-criticality subsystems based on multi- and many-core processors can lead to a significant and potentially unacceptable increase of engineering and certification costs.

Mixed Criticality Cluster

 

The MCC Cluster: The EU FP7 projects CONTREX, DREAMS and PROXIMA collaborate in an European Mixed-Criticality Cluster (MCC) and closely work together in terms of identification of future challenges in the design and development of mixed-criticality multicore systems, join dissemination activities, and where possible exploring techniques to attach those challenges.
In addition to the MCC there are several ongoing research initiatives studying mixed-criticality integration in multicore processors including the MultiPARTES, parMERASA and P-SOCRATES project.
Some of the key challenges to be tackled include the combination of software virtualization and hardware segregation and the extension of partitioning mechanisms jointly addressing significant extra-functional requirements (e.g., time, energy and power budgets, adaptivity, reliability, safety, security, volume, weight, etc.) along with development and certification methodology.

  • Timing: the foundations for enabling integrated mixed-criticality multicores systems are mechanisms for temporal and spatial partitioning, which establish fault containment and the absence of unintended side effects between functions
  • Certification: Certification is key to enable exploitation of results in certain application domains such as railways or energy
  • Extra-functional properties: The specific properties that must be satisfied by embedded systems include timeliness, energy efficiency of battery-operated devices, dependable operation in safety-relevant scenarios, short time-to-market and low cost in addition to increasing requirements with respect to functionality.
  • Development methods: State-of-the-art model-based design methods still lack of explicit support for modelling mixed-criticality of applications. Support for spatial and temporal segregation properties at the resource allocation or platform view and for the static or dynamic application to computation, memory and communication resource mapping is required.

 

In a following, a short description of the other projects and links to their project website are given.

DREAMS project

Based on the strong foundation in European and national initiatives, DREAMS will establish a European reference architecture for mixed-criticality systems by consolidating and extending platform technologies and development methods. DREAMS will leverage multi-core platforms for a hierarchical system perspective of mixed-criticality applications combining the chip- and cluster-level. DREAMS will deliver architectural concepts, meta-models, virtualization technologies, model-driven development methods, tools, adaptation strategies and validation, verification and certification methods for the seamless integration of mixed-criticality to establish security, safety, real-time performance as well as data, energy and system integrity. The objective of DREAMS is a cross-domain architecture supporting multiple application domains (e.g., avionics, wind power, healthcare).

 

PROXIMA project

Continuing the PROARTIS STREP FP7 Project probabilistic approach to reduce timing verification and validation cost of MCS, PROXIMA pursues the development of probabilistically time analyzable (PTA) techniques and tools for multicore/manycore platforms. PROXIMA will selectively introduce randomization in the timing behavior of certain hardware and software resources as a way to facilitate the use probabilities to predict the overall timing behavior of the software and its likelihood of timing failure. To that end (1) PROXIMA will develop a tool chain including a multicore PTA-compliant processor implemented on FPGA and commercial Operating System and Timing analysis tool; (2) will develop four case studies, one in the main industrial scenarios studied in the project (Avionics, Space, Railway and Automotive) on the PTA-conformant platform; and (3) PROXIMA will also study the applicability of PTA Techniques to analyzing the timing behavior of COTS multicore processors.