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An Architecture-oriented Approach to System Integration in Collaborative Robotics Research Projects: An Experience Report
University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Interaction Lab)
University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Interaction Lab)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6568-9342
University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Interaction Lab)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1227-6843
University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Interaction Lab)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1177-4119
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2015 (English)In: Journal of Software Engineering for Robotics, ISSN 2035-3928, E-ISSN 2035-3928, Vol. 6, no 1, 15-32 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Effective system integration requires strict adherence to strong software engineering standards, a practice not much favoured in many collaborative research projects. We argue that component-based software engineering (CBSE) provides a way to overcome this problem because it provides flexibility for developers while requiring the adoption of only a modest number of software engineering practices. This focus on integration complements software re-use, the more usual motivation for adopting CBSE. We illustrate our argument by showing how a large-scale system architecture for an application in the domain of robot-enhanced therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been implemented. We highlight the manner in which the integration process is facilitated by the architecture implementation of a set of placeholder components that comprise stubs for all functional primitives, as well as the complete implementation of all inter-component communications. We focus on the component-port-connector meta-model and show that the YARP robot platform is a well-matched middleware framework for the implementation of this model. To facilitate the validation of port-connector communication, we configure the initial placeholder implementation of the system architecture as a discrete event simulation and control the invocation of each component’s stub primitives probabilistically. This allows the system integrator to adjust the rate of inter-component communication while respecting its asynchronous and concurrent character. Also, individual ports and connectors can be periodically selected as the simulator cycles through each primitive in each sub-system component. This ability to control the rate of connector communication considerably eases the task of validating component-port-connector behaviour in a large system. Ultimately, over and above its well-accepted benefits for software re-use in robotics, CBSE strikes a good balance between software engineering best practice and the socio-technical problem of managing effective integration in collaborative robotics research projects. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dalmine, 2015. Vol. 6, no 1, 15-32 p.
Keyword [en]
best practice in robotics, model-driven engineering, component-based software engineering, discrete event simulation, YARP, component-port-connector model
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-11922OAI: diva2:902997
European Commission, Project 611391: DREAM — Development of Robot-enhanced Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 611391
Available from: 2016-02-12 Created: 2016-02-12 Last updated: 2016-06-08Bibliographically approved

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Vernon, DavidBilling, ErikHemeren, PaulThill, SergeZiemke, Tom
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