ASTEROID is a joint project between TU Dresden Operating Systems (TUD:OS) and IDA funded by the DFG in the Research Priority Program 1500.
Embedded computers play a key role in many of today's technical applications and we rely on them to perform the right job even in the presence of faults. In highly safety-critical systems, such as automobiles, this is usually achieved by implementing the critical features in a dedicated component that is largely disconnected from the rest of the system. Current trends in processor design indicate, that future safety-critical embedded systems will not consist of dedicated chips. Instead, we will see a large number of applications being run on a single multi-processor. It is then up to the operating system (OS) to manage the varying resource needs.
A current OS contains several core functions that depend on error free hardware (HW). Errors in these functions quickly and irreversibly propagate through the system making it virtually impossible to recover from a function failure. Other OS functions can recover from failures with appropriate mechanisms. Such functions inherit the dependability requirements of the applications using it.
The project idea is to develop an OS and HW mechanisms that utilize the HW and communication resources of a many-core system to efficiently provide the required dependability. The goals are to (1) identify the critical core functionality, (2) to minimize the hardware and software resources needed for the core, (3) to establish interfaces and signalling between HW, OS, and applications so as to provide system integrity which shall be guaranteed by a corresponding formal safety analysis, and (4) to extend the underlying HW architecture to provide the necessary fault handling mechanisms.
The work is based on the L4 microkernel and uses the IEC61508 to determine applications' functional safety requirements.