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In recent years, approaches to control performance and resource optimization for embedded control systems have been receiving increased attention. Most of them focus on theory, whereas practical aspects are omitted. Theoretical advances demand flexible real-time kernel support for multitasking and preemption, thus requiring more sophisticated and expensive software/hardware solutions. On the other hand, embedded control systems often have cost constraints related with mass production and strong industrial competition, thus demanding low-cost solutions. In this paper, it is shown that these conflicting demands can be softened and that a compromise solution can be reached. We advocate that recent research results on optimal resource management for control tasks can be implemented on simple multitasking preemptive real-time kernels targeting low-cost microprocessors, which can be easily built in-house and tailored to actual application needs. The experimental evaluation shows that significant control performance improvement can be achieved without increasing hardware costs.
Date of Publication: May 2008