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Modular recertification of embedded systems

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000185146D
Publication Date: 2009-Jul-14
Document File: 3 page(s) / 72K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Embedded systems must often meet high standards with respect to their reliability and safety. Therefore, such systems are extensively tested before they receive certification and are ready for use in the field. We propose for embedded devices a combination of static and dynamic analysis methods at runtime and on the target embedded device and an enforcement policy that permits the execution of only such program parts that have successfully passed both static and dynamic analysis. This makes verification and recertification much easier for embedded systems, such that modifications are much less effort intensive and allows later changes in the development cycle, field updates with high confidence, and even at runtime enabling/disabling of functional options without need for recompilation. © Copyright 2009 ABB. All rights reserved.

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ABB ID CH-0903503

Title: Modular recertification of embedded systems Abstract

Embedded systems must often meet high standards with respect to their reliability and safety. Therefore, such systems are extensively tested before they receive certification and are ready for use in the field. We propose for embedded devices a combination of static and dynamic analysis methods at runtime and on the target embedded device and an enforcement policy that permits the execution of only such program parts that have successfully passed both static and dynamic analysis. This makes verification and recertification much easier for embedded systems, such that modifications are much less effort intensive and allows later changes in the development cycle, field updates with high confidence, and even at runtime enabling/disabling of functional options without need for recompilation.

© Copyright 2009 ABB. All rights reserved.

Background of the invention

Embedded systems must often meet high standards with respect to their reliability and safety. Therefore, such systems are extensively tested before they receive certification and are ready for use in the field.

Problem to be solved

When the software of such systems is changed (e.g., to fix bugs or make improvements), the whole system must be recertified in order to guarantee reliable operation. The effort necessary to recertify a system can delay the introduction of a product to the market and increase product costs. This invention targets at reducing both the time and money required for the recertification of systems by recertifying those parts of the software only that have changed.

State-of-the-art solutions

When the software of an embedded system is changed, the functionality of the system is assured in the following ways: code review (offline), static code analysis (e.g., model- checking [3]; offline), testing (lab and/or field), dynamic program analysis ([2]; lab and/or field). Each analysis method can detect a subset of possible kinds of defects only. As an example, potential buffer overruns can be detected using static code analysis whereas complying with deadlines in a real-time system can be detected using dynamic program analysis.

Invention Principle

We propose for embedded devices, including, but not limited to, robot controllers, process controllers, PLCs, high and medium voltage control and protection relays (IEDs), or process analyzers a combination of static and dynamic analysis methods at runtime and on the target device and an enforcement policy that permits the execution of only such program parts that have successfully passed both static and dynamic analysis.

Our invention assumes that the software to be executed is built in a modular way. This can be accomplished by various means, including functions, objects, components, web services, etc. In the example embedd...