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Adaptivity in automated production systems

Adaptivity will be a key enabler of future embedded computer systems and systems of systems, while providing protection against faults and attacks. The ADMORPH use-cases already now give great examples of the potential of adaptive systems, no matter if we look at the radar surveillance, the subway transport systems or the autonomous aerospace systems. In all three cases, adaptivity provides the necessary means to develop reliable and fault-tolerant systems despite immense complexity and stringent requirements on the extra-functional behaviour. But of course, these three use-cases are clearly not the full picture and many other complex systems may profit from adaptivity, as well.

A large initiative in the Augsburg region, the AI Production Network Augsburg (link in German only), has recently been started to explore the future of AI-based automated production systems — systems that share many of the requirements and challenges of our use-cases. We will present the methods, techniques and tools developed within ADMORPH to our regional academic and industrial partners. Together, we will explore their applicability to the broader context of production technology.


The AI Production Network Augsburg is an association of the University of Augsburg with the Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology IGCV, the Augsburg Center for Lightweight Production Technology (ZLP) of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the University of Applied Sciences Augsburg. The aim is joint research into AI based production technologies at the overplap between materials, manufacturing technologies, data-based modeling and digital business models.

© Universität Augsburg


The ADMORPH Railway System Use Case


Our goal with the Railway System Use Case is to exploit ADMORPH tools to create robust and reliable communication between the train and the ground part of the railway system.

The data transmission system between the train and the ground part of the operator’s system consists of a pair of MCG-GCG communication units (Mobile Communication Units and Ground Communication Unit), as shown in the figure below. The purpose of these units is to interconnect the trusted parts of the on-board system with the trusted parts of the ground system through an untrusted wireless network environment.


The robustness of the system (security and availability of the service) is achieved by the redundancy of communication channels (optimally managed by the systems of various telecommunications operators) and the use of an application that continuously evaluates the status and parameters of transmission channels. Based on the set criteria (security, transmission quality, etc.), the application will adapt the operating mode of the data connection, as illustrated in the following figure.

Use of project tools

To achieve a sufficient level of protection for the trusted part of the MCG and the mutual separation of communication channels A and B, the PikeOS hypervisor is used, which will allow the physical device to be divided into several independent logical parts. For the needs of the use case, the HW of the commercial communication unit, illustrated below, was configured to create three independent parts:

  • two mutually isolated communication parts for Channel A and Channel B, represented by partition A and partition B.
  • a part for the needs of the control application, represented by partition C.

Linux OS is installed in partitions A and B, which allows to easily integrate commercial peripherals. Partition C is without an OS (so-called native PikeOS partition), configured for the needs of the static scheduler CECILE.

In addition to the above system, the MCG may contain other partitions with train diagnostics and control applications, which are not part of the project. The resulting MCG configuration is shown in the next figure, where secure communication between Linux partitions A, B, and control partition C can also be seen. Two pairs of queuing ports are used to communicate with modems. This is one of the system’s security tools.

Application development toolset

The TeamPlay coordination language and the CECILE static scheduler will be used to create the control application. Therefore, a tool was created to convert the output of the CECILE coordination compiler to a format suitable for the Target Compiler and Linker CODEO (Sysgo’s IDE), which generates binary code for the native PikeOS partition. The figure below shows a test application written in TeamPlay and its console output when running on a PikeOS partition.


The integration of the TeamPlay and CECILE development tools for the PikeOS environment completed the second stage of the demonstrator’s development. Verification of the functionality of the test module on the target HW platform was a condition for using the toolkit to create a control application that should reach a level suitable for operational verification of the system

Paper accepted to IEEE Control Systems Letters

A new ADMORPH paper has been accepted for publication. The paper, entitled “Stability of Linear Systems under Extended Weakly-Hard Constraints”, will appear in IEEE Control Systems Letters, a highly ranked journal (Scimago Q1).

The paper proposes a comprehensive stability analysis for control systems subject to deadline misses bounded by the weakly-hard model. In the paper, the classical weakly-hard model is extended in order for the analysis to cover additional scheduler configurations. Using properties inherent to the weakly-hard model, we also prove analytic bounds on the stability of embedded systems subject to a broad class of other weakly-hard constraints. The proposed analysis calls for modularity and separation of concern, thus bringing the assessment of control systems stability one step closer to the real-time implementation.

ADMORPH at HiPEAC’22, in Budapest

The ADMORPH project was present at the HiPEAC 2022 Conference, which took place in Budapest, Hungary, from 20 to 22 of June.

ADMORPH posters were visible in the coffee-break area throughout the entire event, while an ADMORPH flyer highlighting the project vision, objective, use cases and architecture and technologies, was distributed to HiPEAC participants.

Furthermore, on June 20 the project participated in the DL4IoT workshop, with a presentation given by Stafanos Skalistis.

Marine Kadar talks about her interest and experience as a woman in CS

Marine Kadar works as project research engineer at SYSGO. She received her PhD from the Real-Time Systems Chair of TU Kaiserslautern in 2022. Her PhD study applied in the scope of FORA, a European training network in Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation project. She investigated how to develop and deploy intrusion detection solutions into embedded mixed-criticality systems, evaluating the solutions in an industrial environment, using SYSGO’s PikeOS real-time hypervisor. Before her PhD, Marine received her engineering degree from ENSIMAG engineering school (France), with a specialization on embedded systems.

Was there a particular reason for you to take an engineering course?

Retrospectively, taking an engineering course was a logical decision in my education path. At school, I have always been interested in science and math. Most of all, I find scientific reasoning fascinating and I enjoy solving practical problems.

After 2 years of generic preparatory classes, I decided to take a course in math and computer science. I then focused on embedded systems, at system low level with hardware mechanisms and operating system programming. I particularly liked security-related problems: e.g. attack methods to hijack a program and countermeasures to protect a systems against such threats. I chose to do my PhD in the domain of embedded system security with the motivation to learn more on the topic.

Since you got your PhD, not too long ago, you already worked in a few companies. Was your decision to go to the industry motivated by the will to do more applied work, rather than fundamental research?

During my engineering studies, I had the opportunity to do internships in a research lab and several companies. I enjoyed different aspects of both work environments: for example, real-life problems in industry and relative freedom in research. That is one main reason, why I chose to do a PhD in an industrial environment. The principal contribution of my PhD was indeed to integrate and evaluate security solutions into industrial embedded mixed-criticality systems, using a commercial industrial platform.

The STEM areas are typically male dominated. Did you felt any difference concerning the opportunities given to women, when moving from an academic environment to the industry?

I did not feel a difference between my studies in the university and working in the industry in regard to opportunities given to women. As there were very few women in my computer science course, I logically met very few women with programming skills in the companies where I worked.

Can you tell us about what you are working on in the context of ADMORPH?

In ADMORPH, I am responsible for SYSGO’s contributions in the project. I have been working on developing PikeOS (i.e. SYSGO’s real-time hypervisor) extensions to support runtime mechanisms in ADMORPH system architecture. These include fault detection methods and adaptation solutions to support ADMORPH use-cases.

My main focus is on the topic of fault and intrusion detection, which is directly related to my PhD work. I contributed to the implementation of a hardware-assisted framework based on ARM CoreSight processor tracing technology to implement transparent control-flow monitoring of a user-level application during runtime. I participated to the evaluation of this monitoring framework in a real-life environment using PikeOS real-time hypervisor and a commercial hardware target.

Finally, if you would be talking to young girls about their future career, would you try to convince them about the relevance of working in a technological area? How would you motivate them?

Since I started to study general science and then when I specialized in computer science, the ratio of girls fell down below 10%. In my opinion, this result is mostly due to personal choices (without constraint), which are influenced by our day-to-day environment: family, role models, school, medias, politics, etc. Changing the society towards more gender equality is a non-trivial political goal. I do not think that one speech can easily make someone change his/her mind on such personal matter.

Hence, more than convincing young girls to choose a career in a technological area, I would emphasize the need for them to do what they like and to be independent, so that they can be free to make their own choices.

Thanks a lot for your answers, Marine!

ADMORPH Consortium Meeting in Lisbon

Finally, after two years of virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the #ADMORPH project partners were able to physically meet once again! The consortium meeting took place at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, in Portugal, from the 11th to 13th of May.

During the meeting it was possible to review the work that is being done in all work packages, collect important feedback from our Advisory Board members (thank you!!!), and work together to ensure a nice integration of the work around the defined use cases in the naval, railway and avionics domains.

Not less important, we also used the opportunity to socialize and get to better know each other after work, enjoying together some of the nice things that Lisbon has to offer: food, views and weather 🙂

Cristiana Bolchini talks about her interest and experience as a woman in CS

Cristiana Bolchini is a Professor at the Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioningegneria of Politecnico di Milano, where she received a PhD in Automation and Computer Science Engineering in 1997. Her research interests are in methodologies for the design and analysis of computing/embedded systems with a particular focus on dependability aspects. She coordinates and has been involved in several EU research projects. She is the General Chair for DATE 2022.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in computer science and engineering?

I actually enrolled and got a degree in Electronics Engineering (Control and Automation specifically) and moved to Computer Science Engineering with the PhD since the area of research I was pursuing fell under that specialization when established in our department. My dad was an electronic design technician, able to fix most electronic appliances at home, and had a small lab with instruments. I saw how passionate he was with his job and thought it was something that could be right for me as well. My career took a very different path, I am not able fix any electronic appliance, but the passion is the same.

Being a woman working in STEM, which has traditionally been a male dominated area, did you felt this could be a disadvantage?

Being one of the few women (I think we were around 5% in my class at the university) made me aware of being noticeable but it never felt as an advantage or disadvantage; I think I simply perceived it as a statistical data… less women were interested in that kind of things.

Sometimes being one of the few women made the others wonder why I was there, and question my competence or abilities, but I guess I did not really see it or feel it as a problem.

As the years went by and emphasis increased on diversity and female access to STEM studies and careers, I realized that I was very lucky for growing up in a context where I could have chosen any path based on my preferences and ability, encouraged and not stopped to avoid being a different item in a set. However this is not true for everybody, and encouragement and promotion are key factors to enable females to understand that they should pursuit their preferred path, because there is nothing they wouldn’t be able to do.

Your research is very much focused on dependability aspects, in particular considering reconfigurable systems. Is this the reason why you came aware of the ADMORPH project? Would you like to mention any particularly interesting aspects in the project?

To be honest I did not came aware of the project, since I have been contacted. So, if you rephrase the question by omitting that part, I can provide the following answer wr.t. what I find interesting in the project.

My area of expertise is indeed dependability, having also carried out research in the area of adaptivity and self-awareness, so I find most aspects of the ADMORPH project of great interest, and I will monitor the project outcomes and results through the years.

You are the General Chair for DATE 2022, so we wish you all the success in your mission! Do you have any plans to foster more female researchers to submit their work and participate in the conference? (we hope this interview might help advertising and contributing to that goal)

DATE and DAC foster a “Diversity in EDA” activity to promote female (and underepresented in general) professionals and researchers; when I served as Program Chair for DATE 2020 I put a lot of effort in bringing diversity in the Technical Program Committee and I am trying to do the same this year. However, it was a tough objective, as female scientists in our field are numerically less than male ones… so it would be great to be able to see a growth in female presence.

I think one effective way to encourage this trend is by providing an example, by showing them that everything is possible.

As a computer science teacher, what would you say to young female students to convince them to pursue a career in computer science?

I encourage them to ignore the statistics and to pursue whatever they like… a computer science degree is an enabling ticket for several interesting careers, independently of the gender.

ADMORPH participation at DATE’21

ADMORPH had a strong presence in the organization of a panel session at the ASD Autonomous Systems Design initiative, in the scope of the DATE 2021 conference. The session, under the theme “Self-adaptive safety- and mission-critical CPS: wishful thinking or absolute necessity?” was organized by ADMORPH researchers Martina Maggio and Andy Pimentel. It took place on the 5th of February, by video-conference, and attracted the attention of about 60 participants. Speakers (or panelist) on the program were Stefanos Skalistis (Raytheon Technologies, Ireland), talking about “Certification challenges of adaptive avionics systems”, and Clemens Grelck (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands), presenting “The TeamPlay Coordination Language for Dependable Systems”. The third speaker in the panel was Sasa Misailovic (from UIUC), talking about “Programming Systems for Helping Developers Cope with Uncertainty”. The panel session resulted in a lively discussion about what adaptation can do, how to test it, and how to certify the results.

ADMORPH article on HiPEAC info

The HiPEAC Info magazine is a quarterly publication providing the latest news on the activities within the European HiPEAC network, as well as activities on high-performance embedded architectures and compilers at large.

The April issue includes an article introducing the ADMORPH project and describing the project objectives and the addressed challenges.