Embedded Software (ESW) design is one, albeit critical, aspect
of the more general problem of Embedded System Design (ESD).
In recent years, the complexity increase coupled with the
constantly evolving specifications has forced designers to
look at implementations that are intrinsically flexible, i.e.,
that can be changed rapidly. Since hardware-manufacturing
cycles do take time and are expensive, the interest in
software-based implementation has risen to previously unseen
levels. However, this move corresponds to increasing problems
in verifying design correctness. In addition, little attention
has been traditionally paid to hard constraints on reaction
speed (Real Time), memory footprint and power consumption of
software. This is of course crucial for embedded systems.
To overcome these problems, most system companies have decided
to enhance their software design methodology to increase
productivity and product quality.
We have seen a flurry of activities towards the adoption of
object-oriented approaches and other syntactically driven
methods that have certainly value in cleaning the structure
and the documentation of embedded software but have barely
scratched the surface in terms of quality assurance and
time-to-market. Along this line, we also saw a growing
interest towards standardization of Real-Time Operating
Systems either de facto, or through standard bodies such
as the OSEK committee established by the German automotive
industry. This crisis is not likely to be resolved going
about business as usual but we need to focus at the root
of the problems.
Our vision for ESW is to change radically the way in which
ESW is developed today by: 1) linking ESW upwards in the
abstraction layers to system functionality; 2) linking ESW
to the programmable platforms that support it thus providing
the means to verify whether the constraints posed are met.
To realize our vision, we have on one hand to develop formal
techniques at the abstract level so that verification is
started early and with the correct set of tools and methods.
On the other hand, we have to think of ESW and hardware
architecture in a unified and harmonious way.
Alberto Sangiovanni Vincentelli holds the Edgar L. and Harold
H. Buttner Chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
at the University of California at Berkeley and the Vice-Chair
position for Industrial Relations. He has been on the Faculty
since 1976. In 1980-1981, he spent a year as a Visiting Scientist
at the Mathematical Sciences Department of the IBM T.J. Watson
Research Center. In 1987, he was Visiting Professor at MIT.
He was a co-founder of Cadence and Synopsys, the two leading
companies in the area of Electronic Design Automation. He was
a Director of ViewLogic and Pie Design System and Chair of the
Technical Advisory Board of Synopsys. He is the Chief Technology
Adviser of Cadence Design System and the General Manager of the
Cadence European Labs. He also founded the Cadence Berkeley Labs.
He is co-founder and Chairman of the Board of ComSilica, a
start-up in the Wireless communication domain. He was the
founder of the Kawasaki Berkeley Concept Research Center,
where he holds the title of Chairman of the Board. He authored
and co-authored over 550 papers and fifteen books in the area of
design tools and methodologies, large-scale systems, embedded
controllers, and hybrid systems. Dr. Sangiovanni-Vincentelli
is Fellow of the IEEE since 1982 and a Member of the National
Academy of Engineering since 1998.