Project : popart
Section: Application Domains
Our applications are in embedded systems, typically: robotics, automotive, telecommunications, systems on chip (SoC). In some areas, safety is critical, and motivates the investment in formal methods and techniques for design. But even in less critical contexts, like telecommunications and multimedia, these techniques can be beneficial in improving the efficiency and quality of designs, as well as the design, production and test costs themselves.
Industrial acceptance of formal techniques, as well as their deployment, goes necessarily through their usability by specialists of the application domain, rather than of the formal techniques themselves. Hence our orientation towards the proposal of domain-specific (but generic) realistic models, validated through experience (e.g., control tasks systems), based on formal techniques with a high degree of automation (e.g., synchronous models), and tailored for concrete functionalities (e.g., code generation).
Industrial design tools.
The commercially available design tools (such as UML with real-time extensions, MathLab/Simulink/dSPACE( http://www.dspaceinc.com)) and execution platforms (OS such as VxWorks, QNX, real-time versions of Linux...) propose a collection of functionalities without accompanying it by design or verification methods. Some of them, founded on models of reactive systems, come close to tools with a formal base, such as for example Statemate by iLogix.
Regarding the synchronous approach, commercial tools are available: Scade (based on Lustre) and Esterel( http://www.esterel-technologies.com), Sildex( http://www.tni-valiosys.com) (based on Signal), industrial versions of Esterel compilers (for example at France Télécom R&D), specialized environments like CellControl for industrial automatisms, by the Inria spin-off Athys( http://www.athys.fr). One can note that behind the variety of actors, there is a real coherence of the synchronous technology, which makes sure that the results of our work related to the synchronous approach are not restricted to some language due to compatibility issues.
The scheduling methods we propose, are of interest for the designers of embedded applications, who lack adequate design methods to effectively use the tools offered by the RTOS. The dissemination of these methods can be done via the success of applications (as in the European project Teledimos, or by distribution in the context of free software around the real-time/embedded versions of Linux( http://www.realtimelinuxfoundation.org/projects/projects.html).
Some of our industrial cooperations.
Regarding applications and case studies with industrial end-users of our techniques, we cooperate with:
ST Micro-electronics around design assistance for Systems on Chip, w.r.t. controller synthesis, automatic distribution of simulations, compositional verification;
Comau (formerly Renault Automation), around modeling components for factory automation;
Excavation systems industry in the framework of the Teledimos European project.
Regarding transfer of our results and know-how to tool-vending industrials, we interact with:
France Télécom R&D, by transferring automatic distribution technology towards their Esterel compiler;
Athys, where methodological aspect from the Orccad approach were taken over, as well as a specialized verification framework.