Overview of research area

There is a proliferation of embedded systems with increasing requirements in what concerns real-time and dependability. Devices such as cellular phones, PDAs, control systems with ``smart'' sensors and actuators, are examples of those embedded systems. Despite the technological evolution, in terms of processing power and chip integration, many of these devices still show limitations regarding available resources. The need to obtain devices that are small in size, with low power consumption, and low cost, implies that resources such as processing power and memory capacity can not grow in an uncontrolled way. On the other hand, the complexity and the requirements associated with the applications are ever increasing. Sometimes, besides strict temporal and dependability requirements, it is necessary to conciliate them with functional requirements that imply the utilization of generic use components (COTS). This coexistence makes real-time and dependability aspects much more difficult to solve.

Some of the referred devices need to communicate among them, or provide remote access. That implies their interconnection by communication networks that in some cases will be wireless, where the bandwidth and real-time characteristics are, usually, weaker.

The area of interconnected embedded systems, with requirements of real-time and fault-tolerance, is thus an area of utmost importance where there is still significant research work to do (both the aspects related to processing and communications). Of particular interest are the scenarios corresponding to dynamic environments, not completely synchronous (quasi-synchronous), where there is a need to adapt the offered qualities of service.