A modular approach for programming embedded systems

Shangping Ren, Gul A. Agha

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


A real-time system not only must generate correct results, it must generate those results on time. In embedded systems, these results include control signals, actuator reactions, etc. Traditional approaches to the design and implementation of real-time embedded applications first transfer timing requirements into machine dependent operations using low level programming languages, such as Assembly or C. By intermixing functional behavior with timing behavior, low-level programming languages reduce the modularity and reusability of software components. For example, it is difficult to incrementally modify either existing application code to meet new functionality requirements, or the scheduling to meet changing hardware or network requirements. In order to address these difficulties, we develop a high-level language approach to support a stronger separation of design concerns. We use actors as a formal model of computation in an embedded system and separate timing requirements from the actors' functional behavior. A new language construct, called RTsynchronizer, is introduced to express timing requirements. Our approach provides a formal basis for a component-based compositional software development methodology for distributed real-time and embedded systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLectures on Embedded Systems - European Educational Forum School on Embedded Systems
EditorsFrits Vaandrager, Grzegorz Rozenberg
PublisherSpringer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)3540651934, 9783540651932
StatePublished - 1998
Event1st European Conference on Educational Forum School on Embedded Systems, EEF - Veldhoven, Netherlands
Duration: Nov 25 1996Nov 29 1996

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other1st European Conference on Educational Forum School on Embedded Systems, EEF


  • Actors
  • Concurrency
  • Distributed systems
  • Embedded systems
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Real-time systems
  • Scheduling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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