The Physics World, the member magazine of the Institute of Physics has nominated ESA's Rosetta mission as the 2014 Breakthrough of the Year for being the first to land a spacecraft on a comet.
Today (15 November 2014), Rosetta's Philae lander went into sleep, its batteries depleted but still it could upload the last set of measurements. The lander might wake up again if it can catch enough sunlight to recharge the batteries. Rosetta itself will continue its mission. To follow the saga, watch the ESA website. We can only be very proud that our Virtuoso RTOS on the parallel DSP boards (developed by EADS) has survived a journey of 10 years and 500 million km in space sending us the first close look at a comet. And maybe its chemical analysis can tell us a bit more of how life originated on our planet.
We take the opportunity to share some thoughts on the long road towards trustworthy systems and software engineering that we were involved in by having the Virtuoso RTOS being used on board Rosetta.*
Venue: Faculty Club Leuven, Groot Begijnhof 14, 3000 Leuven, Belgium on November 28, 2014.
Altreonic is pleased to invite you to the upcoming one day Workshop 2014 to be held on 28 November 2014 at the Faculty Club in Leuven. The workshop hours are from 0900 to 1700. Registration starts at 0830.
Embedded Systems are increasingly being called Cyber-Physical or Smart Systems. The reason is a growing complexity covering multiple domains as well as an increasing need for provable and verifiable trustworthy behaviour. The workshop aims at demonstrating how engineering such systems can be simplified, while remaining trustworthy. By applying a formal development process and by using a qualifiable tool suite, the transition from requirements to implementation can be done in a systematic and traceable way, resulting in certifiable products in less time and at a lower cost. Keywords are "unified semantics" and "interacting entities". The methodology will be illustrated using several examples and demos with Altreonic's integrating GoedelWorks and OpenComRTOS Designer. Read further for more details.
28 October, 2014, Altreonic Linden Labs.
OpenComRTOS Designer is Altreonic’s formally developed network-centric RTOS with associated modeling and debugging tools. It is unique in the sense that it supports heterogeneous systems and hence it is much more a generic programming and modeling environment than a simple RTOS. While it supports high-end multicore processors, it also supports distributed systems, DSPs and small microcontrollers thanks to its very small code size and build-in support for transparent distributed real-time scheduling. Now available with a Qualification Pack for safety and mission critical applications.
Altreonic will be present at following events:
1. AIRTEC 2014 (October 28 - 30, 2014 Frankfurt / Main, Germany). 9th International Aerospace Supply fair. A B2B meeting event with exhibition and a congress. Come and see Altreonic.
2. D&E Event 29th October 2014. Design Automation & Embedded Systems Event 2014. Location: Den Bosch, Netherlands. Eric Verhulst will present “ A generic methodology for safety engineering”. Track Embedded at 10.00.
3. Upcoming releases: GoedelWorks 2.5 and OpenComRTOS Qualification Package.
Latest update: Rosetta’s lander Philae will target Site J, an intriguing region on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko that offers unique scientific potential, with hints of activity nearby, and minimum risk to the lander compared to the other candidate sites. The 100 kg lander is planned to reach the surface on 11 November, where it will perform indepth measurements to characterise the nucleus in situ, in a totally unprecedented way. Full story at the ESA website
Historic mission in search of the Origin of the Solar System
With a go-ahead in 1993, the Rosetta ESA mission was finally launched in March 2004. After a 10 years journey through our solar system, it has finally arrived and made rendez-vous with the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Comet. The first high resolution pictures are stunning. Later on a robotic lander will touchdown on the comet itself and start taking pictures from the surface, a feat never done before.
Rosetta has several other scientific instruments on-board. The main processor for processing on-board data is a SEU and radiation tolerant version of the 21020 floating point DSP, used in a parallel configuration on boards developed by EADS. The RTOS used is Virtuoso, developed by Eonic Systems whose technology was later on acquired by Wind River to disappear from the market three years later. Altreonic’s OpenComRTOS Designer is the 4th generation of Virtuoso. Redeveloped from scratch using formal techniques, OpenComRTOS offers more scalability, portability and modularity than ever before but with a code size that is about 10 times less. Work is underway for a new branch codenamed VirtuosoNext.
Just like for Rosetta, a long journey will have preceded OpenComRTOS Designer and VirtuosoNext. It started in 1991 when the first parallel RTOS for the transputer was released. Still unique, it represents accumulated years of experience in combination with a formal approach. Keeping it simple but smart has been one of the foundations of its design. It results in a unprecedented performance and ease of use specifically for (heterogeneous) parallel or distributed systems. Yet, today it also replaces more traditional POSIX-style RTOS that require 50 times more memory. Code size still matters!
The Rosetta mission is an unprecedented scientific and technical achievement. It required the cooperation of several nations and 1000’s of scientist and engineers. We are proud to have made our small contribution.
Ada and SPARK-Ada interface for OpenComRTOS Designer
Ada has a long history. Originally developed in the late 70's on request of the US DoD, it became available with a certified compiler in 1983. While the language had as goal to improve the quality of software, in its striving to be complete (procedural, object-oriented, modularity, concurrent tasking and many more features), it was complex and fairly heavy to use. Nevertheless, it was and still is the language of choice for large safety critical applications, especially when large teams are involved. Its complexity, the steep pricing for the tools and its lower performance inhibited its wider use. Hence C compilers offering often better performance and more control over the hardware gradually became the compiler of choice even if the language has many safety issues. Ironically, VHDL which is a widely used programming language to develop hardware circuits heavily borrowed from Ada.
New release of GoedelWorks 2.0
Altreonic has the pleasure to announce the new v.2.0 release of its GoedelWorks portal. It inherits from v.1.0. the "systems grammar" that with 16 core concepts allows to define any systems engineering project. It keeps the view that a system is the end-result of a development project whereby a chosen process (often domain and organisation specific) is followed.