Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Research Program

Models of Computation and Communication (MoCCs)

Participants : Julien Deantoni, Robert de Simone, Frédéric Mallet, Jean-Vivien Millo, Dumitru Potop Butucaru.

Esterel, SyncCharts, synchronous formalisms, Process Networks, Marked Graphs, Kahn networks, compilation, synthesis, formal verification, optimization, allocation, refinement, scheduling

Formal Models of Computation form the basis of our approach to Embedded System Design. Because of the growing importance of communication handling, it is now associated with the name, MoCC in short. The appeal of MoCCs comes from the fact that they combine features of mathematical models (formal analysis, transformation, and verification) with these of executable specifications (close to code level, simulation, and implementation). Examples of MoCCs in our case are mainly synchronous reactive formalisms and dataflow process networks. Various extensions or specific restrictions enforce respectively greater expressivity or more focused decidable analysis results.

DataFlow Process Networks and Synchronous Reactive Languages such as Esterel/SyncCharts and Signal/PolyChrony [65] , [66] , [60] , [15] , [4] , [13] share one main characteristics: they are specified in a self-timed or loosely timed fashion, in the asynchronous data-flow style. But formal criteria in their semantics ensure that, under good correctness conditions, a sound synchronous interpretation can be provided, in which all treatments (computations, signaling communications) are precisely temporally mapped. This is refered to as clock calculus in synchronous reactive systems, and leads to a large body of theoretical studies and deep results in the case of DataFlow Process Networks  [61] , [59] (consider SDF balance equations for instance [67] ).

As a result, explicit schedules become an important ingredient of design, which ultimately can be considered and handled by the designer him/herself. In practice such schedules are sought to optimize other parts of the design, mainly buffering queues: production and consumption of data can be regulated in their relative speeds. This was specially taken into account in the recent theories of Latency-Insensitive Design [62] , or N-synchronous processes [63] , with some of our contributions [6] .

Explicit schedule patterns should be pictured in the framework of low-power distributed mapping of embedded applications onto manycore architectures, where they could play an important role as theoretical formal models on which to compute and optimize allocations and performances. We describe below two lines of research in this direction. Striking in these techniques is the fact that they include time and timing as integral parts of early functional design. But this original time is logical, multiform, and only partially ordering the various functional computations and communications. This approach was radically generalized in our team to a methodology for logical time based design, described next (see 3.2 ).

K-periodic static scheduling and routing in Process Networks

In the recent years we focused on the algorithm treatments of ultimately k-periodic schedule regimes, which are the class of schedules obtained by many of the theories described above. An important breakthrough occurred when realizing that the type of ultimatelly periodic binary words that were used for reporting static scheduling results could also be employed to record a completely distinct notion of ultimately k-periodic route switching patterns, and furthermore that commonalities of representation could ease combine them together. A new model, by the name of K-periodical Routed marked Graphs (KRG) was introduced, and extensively studied for algebraic and algorithmic properties [5] .

The computations of optimized static schedules and other optimal buffering configurations in the context of latency-insensitive design led to the K-Passa software tool development (now terminated)

Endochrony and GALS implementation of conflict-free polychronous programs

The possibility of exploring various schedulings for a given application comes from the fact that some behaviors are truly concurrent, and mutually conflict-free (so they can be executed independently, with any choice of ordering). Discovering potential asynchronous inside synchronous reactive specifications then becomes something highly desirable. It can benefit to potential distributed implementation, where signal communications are restricted to a minimum, as they usually incur loss in performance and higher power consumption. This general line of research has come to be known as Endochrony, with some of our contributions [11] .