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< Contents ERCIM News No. 52, January 2003
Special Theme: Embedded Systems

Creating a Network for Those working with Embedded and Real-Time Systems

by Barrie Ross-Dow

Recognising the growing importance of Embedded Real-Time Systems the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) created a Professional Network to cover this field. This new network offers support to the development of industry by promoting co-ordinated research, knowledge sharing and educational support.

Embedded Real-Time Systems are important components in a wide range of application areas including the Process Industry, Manufacturing Automation, Transportation, Telecoms, Medical, Power Generation and Distribution, and Defence They act as an enabling technology allowing systems to sense their environments and directly influence them through controlled and timely actions.

The combination of temporal requirements, limited resources, concurrent environmental entities and high dependability requirements, (together with distributed processing) presents the system engineer with unique problems. Embedded Real-Time systems are now recognised as a distinct discipline. It has its own body of knowledge and theoretical foundation. The next generation of Embedded Real-Time Systems are likely to be subject to even greater demands than those that are currently placed on them. However, effective support for such technology is currently lacking: there needs to be a co-ordinated research, technology transfer and educational programme with the long term goal of providing support for the engineering of intelligent, flexible and dependable Embedded Real-Time Systems.

By creating a Professional Network (PN) in the field of Embedded and Real-Time Systems, the IEE has taken a major step towards establishing and co-ordinating such a programme. The new Embedded and Real-Time Systems PN organises seminars, lectures, residential courses, contributes to IEE publications and provides a interactive community website with access to relevant knowledge and information. The website also facilitates communication between participants. Registration to the PN is currently free and there is no requirement to be a member of the IEE.

There are certain distinct advantages in having the backing of the IEE behind this initiative. As Europe's largest engineering body, with over 130,000 members, the institution has the resources to support the project with key contacts in industry, government and academia. Guidance for the running of operations is steered by a panel of professionals who make up the PN's Executive Team. The current team for the Embedded and Real-Time Systems PN is chaired by Dr Iain Bate a member of the Real-Time Research Group at the University of York.

Content for the PN website is supported by the Publications division of the IEE, an established provider of specialist publications and the INSPEC database. They provide detailed editorial work as well as supply content for a regular industry related newsletter, sent to all registrants. In August 2002, the IEE devoted an entire issue of its Computing & Control Engineering Journal to papers given at an event organised by the Professional Network. This helped highlight many of the important issues which concern the industry.

Future events are planned on: Developing Real-Time Embedded Systems, Real-Time Software in Formula 1; Real-Time UML and Military & Aerospace applications of FPGAs.


Please Contact:
Barrie Ross-Dow
Institute of Electrical Engineers, UK