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A Formal Approach to Collaborative Modelling and Co-simulation for Embedded Systems

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John Fitzgerald, Dr Peter Larsen, Dr Ken Pierce



The development of embedded computing systems poses significant challenges. The increasing complexity of distributed control and the need to provide evidence to support assurance of safety suggest that there is merit in adopting model-based formal methods. However, such approaches require effective collaboration between the engineering disciplines involved, and in particular the integration of discrete-event models of controllers with continuous-time models of their environments. This paper proposes a new approach to the development of such combined models (co-models), in which an initial discrete-event model may include approximations of continuous-time behaviour that can later be replaced by couplings to continuous-time models. An operational semantics of co-simulation then allows the discrete and continuous models to run on their respective simulators, managed by a coordinating co-simulation engine. This permits the exploration of the composite co-model’s behaviour in a range of operational scenarios. The approach has been realised using the Vienna Development Method (VDM) as the discrete-event formalism, and 20-sim as the continuous-time framework, and has been applied successfully to a case study based on the distributed controller for a personal transporter device.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fitzgerald JS; Pierce KG; Larsen PG; Verhoef MHG

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: School of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 2011

Pages: 36

Print publication date: 01/07/2011

Source Publication Date: July 2011

Report Number: 1264

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

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne