Joseph Sifakis - Embedded Systems Design Scientific Challenges and Work Directions
The development of a satisfactory Embedded Systems Design Science provides a timely challenge and opportunity for reinvigorating Computer Science.
Embedded systems are components integrating software and hardware
jointly and specifically designed to provide given functionalities,
which are often critical. They are used in many applications areas
including transport, consumer electronics and electrical appliances,
energy distribution, manufacturing systems, etc.
Embedded systems design requires techniques taking into account
extra-functional requirements regarding optimal use of resources such
as time, memory and energy while ensuring autonomy, reactivity and
Jointly taking into account these requirements raises a grand
scientific and technical challenge: extending Computer Science with
paradigms and methods from Control Theory and Electrical Engineering.
Computer Science is based on discrete computation models not
encompassing physical time and resources which are by their nature
very different from analytic models used by other engineering
We summarize some current trends in embedded systems
design and point out some of their characteristics, such as the chasm
between analytical and computational models, and the gap between
safety critical and best-effort engineering practices. We call for a
coherent scientific foundation for embedded systems design, and we
discuss a few key demands on such a foundation: the need for
encompassing several manifestations of heterogeneity, and the need for
design paradigms ensuring constructivity and adaptivity.
main aspects of this challenge and associated research directions for
different areas such as modelling, programming, compilers, operating
systems and networks.