Ærø: A Platform Architecture for Mixed-Criticality Airborne Systems

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Real-time embedded platforms with resource constraints can take the benefits of mixed-criticality system where applications with different criticality-level share computational resources, with isolation in the temporal and spatial domain. A conventional software-based isolation mechanism adds additional overhead and requires certification with the highest level of criticality present in the system, which is often an expensive process. In this article, we present a different approach where the required isolation is established at the hardware-level by featuring partitions within the processor. A four-stage pipelined soft-processor with replicated resources in the data-path is introduced to establish isolation and avert interference between the partitions. A cycle-accurate scheduling mechanism is implemented in the hardware for hard-real-time partition scheduling that can accommodate different periodicity and execution time for each partition as per user needs, while preserving time-predictability at the individual application level. Applications running within a partition has no sense of the virtualization and can execute either on a host-software or directly on the hardware. The proposed architecture is implemented on FPGA thread and demonstrated with an avionics use case.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8935377
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)2307-2318
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • FPGA
  • Flight computer
  • integrated modular avionics (IMA)
  • mixed-criticality system
  • partitioned system
  • processor architecture
  • real-time system


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