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LinuxDevices: Temporal Inventory and Real-Time Synchronization in RTLinux

Apr 18, 2003, 08:30 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Victor Yodaiken)

"Synchronization operations impose temporal order on a software system by forcing some computations to wait until other computations complete. Waiting and negotiating over which computation should take place next can easily absorb significant fractions of processing power and can cause significant delays.

"To compensate, engineers can specify more powerful processors and more resources, maybe even multiple processors--but such things are not free. Even worse, synchronization can easily produce timing failures or deadlocks that may elude testing and this becomes more of a hazard as more complex and sophisticated synchronization operations are employed. It's not uncommon for control system software to spiral in complexity as more hardware is added to provide the compute power needed for synchronization, necessitating more synchronization which requires more resources and also more sophisticated special case software to compensate for hard to find sporadic timing problems and so on.

"This paper provides a tutorial on synchronization of real-time software, focused on applications running under the RTCore operating system (RTLinux is RTCore plus Linux). Throughout the design and ongoing development of RTCore, we have tried to solve problems by simplification instead of by adding features..."

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