Department of Computer Science and Technology

Technical reports

Supporting distributed realtime computing

Guangxing Li

December 1993, 113 pages

This technical report is based on a dissertation submitted August 1993 by the author for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the University of Cambridge, King’s College.

DOI: 10.48456/tr-322


Computers have been used for realtime systems for almost 50 years. However, it is only recently that computer research institutions are becoming interested in realtime computing, realizing the significance of realtime systems and their increasing practical importance. Realtime systems engineering still faces many challenges: current systems concepts and functions are unfavourable for the development of a general and consistent framework for realtime systems engineering. The realtime problem domain has also been further complicated by the rapid spread of distributed computing.

This dissertation is concerned with the design and construction of a distributed system environment for supporting realtime applications. The contributions range from high-level programming abstractions down to an operating system kernel interface through the detailed engineering tradeoffs required to create, implement, and integrate the mechanisms within the environment. The contributions consist of a realtime programming model, a timed RPC protocol, a temporal synchronisation facility and empirical validations.

The realtime programming model provides a framework to facilitate the enforcement of the stringent timing constraints found in distributed realtime applications. The model incorporates tasks and communication channels as its basic programming components. It synthesises aspects of resource requirements, resource allocation and resource scheduling into an object based programming paradigm.

The development of the timed RPC protocol allows a programmer to express and enforce reasonable timing requirements (representing different tradeoffs between consistency and strictness) with object invocations.

The definition and infrastructure support of the timed automata to provide a temporal synchronisation facility. This facility contributes to the understanding of temporal synchronisations in a distributed world.

A prototype implementation of the system environment has been constructed and used to evaluate the feasibility of the architectural concepts of the system.

Full text

Only available on paper (could be scanned on request).

BibTeX record

  author =	 {Li, Guangxing},
  title = 	 {{Supporting distributed realtime computing}},
  year = 	 1993,
  month = 	 dec,
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  address =	 {15 JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0FD, United Kingdom,
          	  phone +44 1223 763500},
  doi = 	 {10.48456/tr-322},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-322}