A Platform for the Quality of New Generation Integrated Embedded Systems

Abstract of the Research Program

Heterogeneous, modular and configurable embedded systems are increasingly used in several applications domains. These are systems composed of several heterogeneous modules that share hardware and software resources and are available in several versions that can be obtained by suitably combining different subsets of modules. Single components can be characterized by different real-time and safety requirements even within the same system. These kinds of systems can be found in several application domains, from applications in traditional areas, such as automotive, railways, space, defense, to applications in new areas, such as wearable computing and domotic.

The critical nature of these systems entail high quality requirements, which can hardly be satisfied by means of traditional test and analysis techniques. The large number of components and configurations makes it increasingly difficult to verify every configuration in detail. It is therefore important to develop integrated quality control techniques that infer the required quality level for the different possible configurations from the checks that can be carried out separately on each component, and from a small set of consistency and conformance checks carried out on the whole system. Moreover, the presence of an increasing number of components with different requirements and an increasing amount of shared resources increases the criticality of these systems, and the need to guarantee high quality levels. It is therefore important to define techniques which enable the quantitative evaluation of each component's quality, as well as the possible interferences among components.

The main objective of this project is to define a new integrated methodology to control the quality of these systems. In order to achieve this objective it is necessary to study quality control techniques for each development phase, especially for the initial system definition phase, for component design, and for the component integration.

The analysis of the initial system definition aims at modeling and verifying both the requirements for the whole system, and its interaction with the environment, in order to generate test cases that can be used to check that the product is consistent with the global requirements.

The main objective of quality control applied to a single component is to formalize hypotheses concerning the behavior of the component and of the environment in which it can be employed; to define test and analysis techniques which provide quantitative evaluations of the quality of the component according to the expected behavior of the component and of the environment; to define suitable tests which will be carried out automatically during the assembly and integration phase, in order to guarantee that the hypotheses derived from the test of the single component are satisfied in the chosen configuration.

The main objective of quality control in the component assembly phase is to carry out simple checks -which can be automatically derived from the analysis of the specifications, as well as from the test of each component- aiming at verifying that the configuration obtained does not violate the constraints previously defined by quality control activities applied at the system definition level and at the component level. Participating units will contribute to the achievement of the objectives described above with competence and knowledge which -together- cover all the areas of the proposed research.

The objective of the project is also the definition of a set of experiments based on industrial cases that can be obtained from the activities that every research unit is carrying out in cooperation with industrial organizations in different application domains. This set of experiments will allow the participating units to evaluate the results achieved, and will be a sort of benchmark for the considered applications.

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Project Deliverables and Related Papers

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Prototype Tools

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Research Units and Involved People

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Last update: May 05, 2002