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Garbage collection for reactive real-time systems
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Predictable use of resources, such as processor time and memory, is a desirable property for virtually any computer system. In real-time computing, static predictability is of particular concern. A real-time system typically maintains an ongoing interaction with its environment, concurrently executing tasks at predefined intervals or as responses to sporadic external events. Its purpose is often safety-critical, where failures to meet deadlines may have severe consequences - even loss of life. The substantial body of research in real-time scheduling theory has demonstrated that a priori guarantees on schedulability are achievable. What is needed is some carefully chosen restrictions on how tasks may interact and what timing behavior external events may exhibit. Safe use of shared resources in real-time systems are enabled by protocols for preserving mutually exclusive access to critical sections, free of deadlocks and priority inversions. The ability to achieve a priori schedulability guarantees can be preserved by taking the imposed restrictions into account. Nonetheless, allowing real-time tasks to share heap allocated data has far more complex consequences than just being a schedulability issue concerning shared resources. In order to guarantee failure free operation, the system must be free of memory related errors, such as memory leaks and dangling pointers. It is well-known that garbage collection can solve these problems. However, incorporating a garbage collector in a real-time system imposes a set of other requirements related to schedulability. This includes provably safe upper-bounds on required execution time and memory of the garbage collector in the presence of concurrently executing tasks, as well as preserved ability to achieve static schedulability guarantees of the real-time tasks. The body of research work towards establishing a priori schedulability guarantees of garbage collected real-time systems has been growing for the past decade. However, most of the existing work lacks a clear identification of the parameters required for and their impact on establishing a provably safe upper-bound on garbage collection execution time. The lack thereof has often imposed overly simplistic models for the cost of garbage collection; and - probably even more alarming - tractability of finding safe bounds of the involved parameters has not been established. Furthermore, most existing approaches require specialized scheduling policies and schedulability tests, as well as intrusive restrictions on the task model.In this dissertation, we propose the following theses: (1) the key to successful realtime garbage collection is to preserve as much as possible of previous advances in realtime scheduling theory by imposing minimal restrictions on the task model, scheduler, and schedulability test; and (2) the keys to enabling a priori schedulability guarantees are clear identification and tractable analysis of the sources of execution time for the garbage collector. Proofs of our theses are based on the run-time behavior of the real-time programming language Timber and an incremental copying garbage collector running as the lowest priority (idle) process.We identify all parameters needed for establishing a safe and tight upper bound on execution time of our collector, where the major ones (not surprisingly for a copying collector) are related to the amount of live heap space. We present a novel technique for establishing safe upper bounds of live heap space parameters for real-time systems. We rely on existing techniques for finding safe upper-bounds of parameters related to heap allocation of each task. Finally, we present the garbage collection demand analysis, decoupled from the schedulability analysis used for the real-time tasks, which determines if our collector is schedulable in the system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2010. , 171 p.
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Research subject
Dependable Communication and Computation Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-16886Local ID: 0764e640-c1a2-11df-a707-000ea68e967bISBN: 978-91-7439-144-2OAI: diva2:989873
Godkänd; 2010; 20100916 (keero); DISPUTATION Ämnesområde: Datalogi/Computer Science Opponent: Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer Roger Henriksson, Lunds universitet Ordförande: Chaired Professor Per Lindgren, Luleå tekniska universitet Tid: Tisdag den 26 oktober 2010, kl 09.30 Plats: D770, Luleå tekniska universitetAvailable from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved

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