A New Simulation Process Makes Complex Hardware and Software Compatible

Technology used in cars, aeroplanes and industrial robots is becoming increasingly complex. As this software ages can its usable life be extended? How do systems handle errors? More and more companies are tasked with such questions.

Here, a simulation method developed by researchers in Kaiserslautern will provide a solution. As such, they can verify in what combination hardware and software systems function correctly together. In addition, the researchers can examine the reaction of systems critical for safety in the occurrence of errors.

Software systems comprise a multitude of such components and developers must examine whether they are compatible with each other.

“This is becoming increasingly complex with new hardware and software”,

explains Matthias Jung, doctoral student at the Microelectronic Systems Design Research Group, led by Professor Dr. Norbert Wehn at the University of Kaiserslautern.

“There are countless possibilities to combine such systems. It must always be determined whether the technology will run smoothly with the desired requirements”.

Together with the colleagues of Dr. Thomas Kuhn from the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE, researchers at the “High Performance Centre Simulation and Software based Innovation” have developed a process, which is dedicated to such issues.

“With our simulation platform FERAL, we can already examine whether hardware and software components will function together during development”, explains Dr. Kuhn, Head of Embedded Software Engineering at Fraunhofer IESE.

“FERAL” is the abbreviation for Fast Evaluation on Requirements and Architectural Level.

“We can calculate a vast range of scenarios with this, whether for existing systems or new versions”, Dr. Kuhn continues.

“Furthermore, we can for example test software and hardware that does not yet even exist using our virtual platform”.

With the process, researchers can also detect possible errors that are built into the technology. The researchers provide the system as a service to middle-sized companies and large corporations. The technology is especially important for testing embedded systems. These microcomputers, that interact with their technical surroundings, are built into a multitude of products, including cars, aeroplanes, smartphones, as well as pacemakers and dialysis machines. Moreover, researchers can examine the reaction of systems critical for safety – such as in aeroplanes and industrial production plants – with regard to the occurrence of errors.

Photo credit: http://www.colourbox.com. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft.

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