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Embedded Systems used in industries are more and more relying on new technologies and increasingly complex solutions. Examples of such technologies and solutions include highly integrated System-on-Chips (SoCs), parallel multi-core processors, Graphic Processing Units (GPUs), Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), fast communication networks and cloud computing. This is necessary to meet an increasing demand regarding almost all properties, features and requirements related to embedded systems, for example increased efficiency, faster latency, more accurate timing, increased level of connectivity, faster time to market, increased user experience and simplified engineering of systems. There is also a requirement, from some industries, on the support of a very long usage time, in some cases ranging up to 30-40 years. Such a requirement on systems with long life-time makes maintaining, support and evolution of the system a challenge. In this thesis we present our work, related to the context of such systems, on identifying evolutionary aspects and methods to solve some of the major identified challenges.
In a perfect world are able to predict all future challenges and changes in a system already at design time. However, the real world is not perfect, hence we need to handle challenges during the life-time of the system. For example, a component may become obsolete when subject to new requirements on connectivity between a legacy system and a new cloud solution, due to new requirements on Cyber Security to avoid threats to critical infrastructure.
In this thesis, based on our industrial experience from the power transmission and distribution industry and the telecommunication industry, we have identified a set of major challenges when it comes to system evolution, and we have mapped them to the ISO/IEC 15288 life cycle model. For example, we have introduced adaption to new regulations, component obsoleteness, changes to functional / nonfunctional requirements and resulting challenges when it comes to verification. As a concrete solution to some of the identified challenges we have proposed two methods: one solution for handling the lifecycle of a product based on a strict handling of interfaces, hardware platforms, configurations, etc. and one method for replacing an obsolete FPGA. These contributions provide important tools in the context of evolution of complex embedded systems with long life cycles.