Real-Time Workload Models : Expressiveness vs. Analysis Efficiency

Abstract: The requirements for real-time systems in safety-critical applications typically contain strict timing constraints. The design of such a system must be subject to extensive validation to guarantee that critical timing constraints will never be violated while the system operates. A mathematically rigorous technique to do so is to perform a schedulability analysis for formally verifying models of the computational workload. Different workload models allow to describe task activations at different levels of expressiveness, ranging from traditional periodic models to sophisticated graph-based ones. An inherent conflict arises between the expressiveness and analysis efficiency of task models. The more expressive a task model is, the more accurately it can describe a system design, reducing over-approximations and thus minimizing wasteful over-provisioning of system resources. However, more expressiveness implies higher computational complexity of corresponding analysis methods. Consequently, an ideal model provides the highest possible expressiveness for which efficient exact analysis methods exist.This thesis investigates the trade-off between expressiveness and analysis efficiency. A new digraph-based task model is introduced, which generalizes all previously proposed models that can be analyzed in pseudo-polynomial time without using any analysis-specific over-approximations. We develop methods allowing to efficiently analyze variants of the model despite their strictly increased expressiveness. A key contribution is the notion of path abstraction which enables efficient graph traversal algorithms. We demonstrate tractability borderlines for different classes of schedulers, namely static priority and earliest-deadline first schedulers, by establishing hardness results. These hardness proofs provide insights about the inherent complexity of developing efficient analysis methods and indicate fundamental difficulties of the considered schedulability problems. Finally, we develop a novel abstraction refinement scheme to cope with combinatorial explosion and apply it to schedulability and response-time analysis problems. All methods presented in this thesis are extensively evaluated, demonstrating practical applicability.