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Embedded systems

26/11/2010

New challenges of on-chip systems

Dart project-team - © Inria - Dart

Despite being relatively unknown by the general public, on-chip embedded systems play an important role in our daily lives. We can simply look around us to understand their importance: mobile phones, GPS, multimedia consoles... Three researchers on the DART research team received the "Best Paper Award" during the "System on chip 2010" conference. One of them, Abdoulaye Gamatié, gives us some insight into the challenges of this field.

Abdoulaye, can you introduce yourself in a few words?

Abdoulaye Gamatié:  I am a research scientist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and a member of the DART project-team. My research focuses on the methodologies and tools seeking to facilitate the reliable design of embedded systems in general.

What is your background in research?

Abdoulaye Gamatié:  After preparing for a PhD in computer science at Inria Rennes Bretagne Atlantique, I worked at Université de Rennes 1 as a temporary research lecturer (ATER). Then, I completed my post-doctoral research within Inria Futurs in Lille. Today I am a research scientist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and a member of the DART project-team in Lille.

What does the DART team do?

Abdoulaye Gamatié:  Our project-team is interested in the innovative approach that consists of using a programming paradigm with data parallelism for TSI applications. These are primarily developed on embedded systems with high-performance computing units, such as signal processors or SIMD parallel units.  On-chip embedded systems are now widely present in the electronic devices that we use on a daily basis. A prime example is mobile telephony, which offers a rich range of applications (music, video, photography, Internet, etc.). These applications share a common execution medium: an electronic chip. The challenge for us is to respond to performance requirements while reducing the energy consumption of a system, all at a reduced cost. To respond to this paradox, the DART research team uses and contributes to model-driven engineering technologies.

With whom did you write this paper?

Abdoulaye Gamatié: Adolf Abdallah, a PhD student who completed his thesis on this topic, and Jean-Luc Dekeyser, leader of the DART research team.

In which environment do you work?

Abdoulaye Gamatié: Our solution is defined within the Gaspard2 environment. It is an open-source co-design platform: it allows users to simultaneously model an application and the architecture on which it will run. This is a design approach based on abstract models reflecting certain characteristics of a system. This includes the functionalities and information of the hardware and software platform. This environment, created by DART, allows the designer to create the system integrating all of the requirements. Thalès, the French Atomic Energy Commission and Valéo are among our partners.

What is the major difficulty?

Abdoulaye Gamatié: Embedded systems and especially intensive signal processing systems (audio/video processing, voice recognition, telecommunications, etc.) must provide increasingly greater performance and consume less energy, all at a reduced cost. These contradictory needs increase the complexity of systems, although the time-to-market is becoming ever shorter.

Keywords: Embedded systems Best paper Puces Environnement Gaspard2

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