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Many safety-critical software applications are hard real-time systems. They have stringent timing requirements that have to be adhered to. Functional timing requirements need to interact properly with performance timing requirements. A novel runtime monitor that can check for proper timing behaviour of software, in the actual implementation environment, is presented. The monitor can be synthesised from the software-s timing requirements specification and instantiated in the programmable digital logic of a system on chip (SoC)-based device. Since the monitor is synthesised from the program-s requirements, new monitors can be automatically generated for new programs. Since the SoC-based monitor is deeply embedded, it can operate at the full processor speed and will have access to the internal registers of the processing system. A low gate count, non-invasive monitor is achievable. A case study example, based on a design for an electronic automotive gear controller system, is presented. The study shows that the monitor is capable of detecting program timing violations, in the implementation environment, even though the software design had been properly verified against stated requirements. The monitor scheme can be used as a supplementary test solution or the monitor can be built into a product for lifetime monitoring of timing behaviour, so as to enhance the product-s reliability.
Date of Publication: April 2009