University of Twente Student Theses


Design of animation facilities for analysing cyber-physical system software architectures

Ran, T.C. (2015) Design of animation facilities for analysing cyber-physical system software architectures.

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Abstract:Design of cyber-physical systems is becoming increasingly difficult, due to increasing demands on functionality, as well as safety and time-to-market requirements. To efficiently manage this complexity, a design methodology, or ‘way of working’, has been developed. The way of working is supported by the TERRA tool suite. Using TERRA’s graphical editors, a cyber-physical system’s software structure can be designed in a model-driven way. Through C++ code generation from TERRA, executables implementing the designed CSP model can be deployed on the target (embedded) system. The execution flow of (the executable created from) the model is difficult to analyse, however. This hinders the desired iterative development. Additionally, it means that users new to TERRA and CSP have no efficient means to understand their own designs. This thesis aims to address that issue, by adding animation facilities to TERRA. To establish requirements and planned features, existing animation tooling has been studied. The execution flow of an executable created from a TERRA CSP model can be logged using already existing logging facilities. The animation facilities that have been realised, use the data provided by these logs to visually and textually depict the state changes in the model. As TERRA’s editor is already graphical, the visual display of state changes can be implemented using the same representation. This ensures that users can easily understand the state changes they see in terms of their model. Furthermore, it is efficient in terms of implementation. A textual view complements the graphical view, showing a history of state changes and describing them textually. Users can have multiple animations open at once, and step back and forth through the state changes at their own pace. Animation results have been verified to be correct using CSP analysis of themodels and analysis of data from the pre-existing logging facilities. Planned functionality to add server capabilities to TERRRA for directly receiving log data has not been implemented due to time constraints. It is recommended to add this functionality in the future, as it would make animation significantly more user friendly. During experiments, it was observed that the number of transitions taken is quite high, due to the fact that the CSP model elements each go through a fixed sequence of 3–5 states. Combined with a large amount of scheduling freedom due to CSP’s Parallel constructs, this results in a large state space. Focussing on specific states is therefore somewhat difficult. This could be alleviated in the future by providing options to hide states, effectively reducing the size of the fixed sequence for each model element. Additionally, an important recommendation is adding support for TERRA’s Architecture models and external models. Currently, only CSP models can be animated. Adding this support would allow animation of more complex models that can, for example, contain communication with external hardware.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Programme:Electrical Engineering MSc (60353)
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