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Methods and Tool Support for Analyzing Architectural Models of Embedded Systems

Publication Type:

Licentiate Thesis


Mälardalen University


Embedded systems are ubiquitous in the modern world. They are microcomputers most often included in complete devices consisting of software and hardware. Embedded systems range from small devices to large systems monitoring and controlling complex processes. The design and development of such systems is a complex task, since embedded systems often need to fulfill extra-functional requirements, on top of functional ones, within constrained amounts of platform resources. Some embedded systems are safety-critical, meaning that some system failures may cause severe damage in human life or large financial losses.One way to ensure that a system works in accordance with its specification is to define the system in an Architecture Description Language (ADL) and apply formal verification methods on the architectural model, well in advance of the system implementation. The Architecture Analysis and Design Language (AADL) of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has become popular in, e.g., the avionic and automobile industry. The AADL specification holds several annexes, including the Behavior Annex that is considered in this thesis. Parts of AADL lack a formal semantics, which prevents formal analysis of AADL models, e.g., model checking. Moreover, AADL does not support time annotations, which makes modeling of real-time systems harder.In this thesis, we address the above-mentioned shortcomings by presenting a formal analysis framework including a denotational semantics for a subset of AADL and its Behavior Annex, which allows for checking properties defined in Computation Tree Logic (CTL) by model checking. Model checking is a formal verification method that has proved to be powerful as well as effective in uncovering design errors prior to system implementation. Our AADL-semantics is supported by a model-checker, called ABV, which implements the semantics in Standard ML and is encapsulated in an Eclipse plug-in. We also present a time annotation extension of AADL, implemented in a tool that translates the latter and its Behavior Annex into the Timed Abstract State Machine (TASM) language for simulation of real-time features.Effective component distribution, in particular achieving optimal component distribution, against a set of constraints (e.g. frequency and bandwidth) is a problem tightly connected to architectural modeling. In order to address this problem, we have developed a tool that performs near-optional component distribution with respect to a series of parameters.The research results, which have been illustrated on relevant case studies, provide to the system engineer means for proving that the architectural system model meets its specification with respect to both function and timing. The research has been conducted in the context of the PROGRESS research center, for predictable embedded software systems.


author = {Stefan Bj{\"o}rnander},
title = {Methods and Tool Support for Analyzing Architectural Models of Embedded Systems},
number = {153},
month = {December},
year = {2012},
publisher = {M{\~A}¤lardalen University},
url = {}