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1999 : Cluster Simulation in Time-Triggered Real-Time Systems

Thomas Galla
In the field of safety-critical real-time systems the development of distributed applications for fault-tolerance reasons is a common practice. Hereby the whole application is divided into several distinct parts, which are afterwards mapped onto a set of associated computing components called nodes.

Especially in the automotive and in the aerospace industry the overall design of the application as well as the division into distinct parts is done by a so-called system integrator, whereas the development of the single node is often sub-contracted to sub-system supplier companies and performed in isolation from the rest of the distributed system.

Although recently conceptual development process methodologies have be proposed especially for the company structure of the automotive and the aerospace industry, these methodologies lack from concrete approaches and corresponding tool environments to support on the one hand the distributed development of the node by the sub-system suppliers and on the other hand the testing of the single nodes prior to the integration of the whole system.

This thesis contributes an approach for time-triggered systems supporting this distributed development and isolated testing by introducing cluster simulation, a technique where a dedicated node -- the cluster simulator -- simulates the behavior of multiple nodes of the distributed application and thus provides a development and test environment that emulates the presence of the complete real distributed system. This environment can be used by the sub-system suppliers to thoroughly test "their" node(s) prior to the actual system integration and validate the correct behavior of the developed nodes beforehand thus reducing the required effort that has to be spent upon system integration.

A prototype implementation of the cluster simulator build out of commercial-off-the-shelf components is presented as a proof of concept. The application of this prototype in a joint project with European automotive companies shows the feasibility of both the presented approach and the prototype.

@phdthesis{ galla:1999,
  author =      "Thomas Galla",
  title =       "Cluster Simulation in Time-Triggered Real-Time Systems",
  address =     "Treitlstr. 3/3/182-1, 1040 Vienna, Austria",
  school =      "Technische Universit{\"a}t Wien, Institut f{\"u}r Technische Informatik",
  year =        "1999"
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