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The prevailing abstractions for software are better suited to the traditional problem of computation, namely transformation of data, than to the problems of embedded software. These abstractions have weak notions of concurrency and the passage of time, which are key elements of embedded software. Innovations such as nesC/TinyOS (developed for programming very small programmable sensor nodes called 'motes'), Click (created to support the design of software-based network routers), Simulink with Real-Time Workshop (created for embedded control software) and Lustre/SCADE (created for safety-critical embedded software) offer abstractions that address some of these issues and differ significantly from the prevailing abstractions in software engineering. The paper surveys some of the abstractions that have been explored.