Tools improve design and build of embedded software

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New software that will improve how products are modelled and designed in the embedded-software industry has been released by researchers at Southampton University.

Prof Michael Butler, head of group in dependable systems and software engineering at the university’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), has led the release of a prototype tool that automatically generates software code from high-level models. A second tool, a theory plug-in, is claimed to take product modelling to a more advanced stage.

The tools are part of Deploy — ’Industrial deployment of advanced system engineering methods for high productivity’, a European Commission information and technologies FP7 project. It involves academia and industry working together up to February 2012 to improve industrial development processes that will meet the engineering demands of future systems.

‘There is a growing awareness of the importance of formal modelling in the industrial certification process,’ said Prof Butler. ‘Software is a vital component of most modern systems, yet software engineering is still quite immature in comparison with more established engineering fields. Industry is starting to realise that, if it uses modelling tools, it can reduce errors in the design of software products and improve reliability.’

The software toolkit, named Rodin, is open source and was initially developed in the EU FP6 Rigorous Open Development Environment for Complex Systems (RODIN) project 2004–2007. It is now being exploited further in Deploy.