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Education and Innovation in Embedded Systems Design

USI Università della Svizzera italiana, USI Faculty of Informatics, Advanced Learning and Research Institute USI Università della Svizzera italiana USI Faculty of Informatics USI Advanced Learning and Research Institute
TitleHardware/software partitioning of operating systems: a behavioral synthesis approach
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsChandra, S., F. Regazzoni, and M. Lajolo
Conference NameGLSVLSI '06: Proceedings of the 16th ACM Great Lakes symposium on VLSI
PublisherACM Press, New York, USA
Conference LocationPhiladelphia, PA, USA
ISBN Number1-59593-347-6
KeywordsHW/SW co-design, real time operating systems, system-on-chip (SoC)

In this paper we propose a hardware real time operating system(HW-RTOS) solution that makes use of a dedicated hardware in order to replace the standard support provided by the POSIX layer of a general purpose RTOS for implementing task synchronization and scheduling. By redefining only the I/O APIs of the tasks, the HW-RTOS then takes care of the communication requirements of the original application and also implements the task scheduling algorithm. The new software application can then be compiled without any need for POSIX support. The main advantages are smaller and faster executables. We present results that show how a small hardware area, less than 10K gates, can result in a 15X performance improvement when the original software scheduler is replaced by a dedicated HW-RTOS.