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The complexity of today's embedded real-time systems is continuously growing with high demands on dependability, resource-efficiency, and reusability. Two solution approaches address these needs: First, in the component based software engineering (CBSE) paradigm, software is decomposed into self-contained components with explicit interactions and context dependencies. Connectors represent the abstraction of interactions between these components. Second, components can be shifted from software to reconfigurable hardware, typically field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), in order to meet real-time constraints. This paper proposes a component-based concept to support efficient hardware/software co-design: A hardware component together with the hardware/software connector can seamlessly replace a software component with the same functionality, while the particularities of the alternative interaction are encapsulated in the component connector. Our approach provides for tools that can generate all necessary interaction mechanisms between hardware and software components. A proof-of-concept application demonstrates the advantages of our concept: Rapid change and comparison of different partitioning decisions due to automated and faultless generation of the hardware/software connectors.
Date of Conference: 14-18 April 2008