Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Building Fault-tolerant Distributed Computing Systems using Standard Components

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Santosh Shrivastava, Dr Neil Speirs



The aerospace industry is making increasing use of computers in the implementation of safety-critical systems. New generations of airliners (Airbus A320/330/340, Boeing 777), for example, are using digital computers in their primary flight control systems - systems upon whose integrity and availability depends the safety of the aircraft and its passengers. Such systems are required to be fault-tolerant so that they can continue to function correctly in the presence of a finite number of component failures. Current generations of fault-tolerant computers for safety-critical applications tend to make extensive use of special-purpose hardware, and are thus expensive and inflexible. This paper investigates the possibility of constructing fault-tolerant computer systems using standard hardware components, replicated to an appropriate degree and communicating via special-purpose software protocols. The Voltan family of fail-controlled nodes is introduced and described, and ways of incorporating Voltan nodes into Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) architectures are presented Means of overcoming the potential drawbacks of such nodes are discussed. In particular, possible extensions to IMA gateway modules in order to provide communications and data validation services in support of Voltan nodes are described.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Barrett PA, Shrivastava SK, Speirs NA, Waterworth A

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: Department of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 1993

Pages: 9

Print publication date: 01/11/1993

Source Publication Date: November 1993

Report Number: 449

Institution: Department of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne