“Integration of generic operating systems in partitioned architectures”
Master’s thesis, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon, Sept. 2009
Abstract: The Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) specification defines a partitioned environment hosting multiple avionics functions of different criticalities on a shared computing platform. ARINC 653, one of the specifications related to the IMA concept, defines a standard interface between the software applications and the underlying operating system. Both these specifications come from the world of civil aviation, but they are getting interest from space industry partners, who have identified common requirements to those of aeronautic applications. Within the scope of this interest, the AIR architecture was defined, under a contract from the European Space Agency (ESA). AIR provides temporal and spatial segregation, and foresees the use of different operating systems in each partition. Temporal segregation is achieved through the fixed cyclic scheduling of computing resources to partitions. The present work extends the foreseen partition operating system (POS) heterogeneity to generic non-real-time operating systems. This was motivated by documented difficulties in porting applications to RTOSs, and by the notion that proper integration of a non-real-time POS will not compromise the timeliness of critical real-time functions. For this purpose, Linux is used as a case study. An embedded variant of Linux is built and evaluated regarding its adequacy as a POS in the AIR architecture. To guarantee safe integration, a solution based on the Linux paravirtualization interface, paravirt-ops, is proposed. In the course of these activities, the AIR architecture definition was also subject to improvements. The most significant one, motivated by the intended increased POS heterogeneity, was the introduction of a new component, the AIR Partition OS Adaptation Layer (PAL). The AIR PAL provides greater POS-independence to the major components of the AIR architecture, easing their independent certification efforts. Other improvements provide enhanced timeliness mechanisms, such as mode-based schedules and process deadline violation monitoring.
Research line(s): Timeliness and Adaptation in Dependable Systems (TADS)