Wednesday March 23, 9h30.
Resource-constrained real-time embedded software and systems
Embedded software and systems are already everywhere (in nuclear power plants, smart grids, pacemakers, cars, trains and subways, planes, rockets and satellites, etc.). Most of these contexts are said to be safety-critical: a failure can cause human injuries or death, or severe environment damage. Others might be “only” business-critical: a failure costs a lot of money. To guarantee a very low probability of failure, the most critical systems are based on costly hardware redundancy, dedicated software development methods, and costly validation methods.
Nanosatellites are not safety-critical, and probably not as business-critical as big commercial satellites. Moreover, they are highly resource-constrained (energy consumption, memory, computing power). These observations could lead to choose cheap solutions. However, given the development time and the cost of the launch procedure, failures should be avoided.
We advocate the idea that the development of embedded software and systems for nanosatellites should try and benefit from the accumulated experience on the development of more critical systems; a key problem is to understand which constraints can be relaxed, and which level of quality can be obtained at a reasonable cost.