ACM SIGBED Review (ISSN: 1551-3688)
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SIGBED Review, Volume 16, Number 1, February 2019
Special Issue on 16th international workshop on Real-Time Networks (RTN 2018)


Upcoming Events
Special Issue on 16th international workshop on Real-Time Networks (RTN 2018)

Upcoming Events:

Below is a list of upcoming events of interest to embedded systems community. Not all of the events below are supported by ACM SIGBED. SIGBED sponsors a variety of events related to embedded systems development. The list of currently sponsored events is avalable here. If you would like your event to be considered for sponsorship, please contact SIGBED officers.

Special Issue on 16th international workshop on Real-Time Networks (RTN 2018)

Introduction to the Special Issue

The international workshop on Real-Time Networks (RTN) is a satellite workshop of the Euromicro Conference on Real-Time Systems (ECRTS). The 16th edition of RTN took place in Barcelona, Spain, on the 3rd of July 2018. RTN 2018 congregated over 20 academic and industrial researchers on an intense day full of discussions and good sense of collaboration. In this edition 6 papers were presented (5 of them published in ACM SIGBED) in two regular sessions followed by a new collaborative session including the presentation of two poster and one demo, resulting in one of the most participative and interactive sessions of the day. The main focus of this edition was given to the new IEEE standardization activities and protocol stacks within the 802.1 Time Sensitive Networking task group (TSN). Dr. Wilfried Steiner, from TTTech Austria, opened the workshop with a keynote covering the process of standardization and current research directions in TSN with potential value for industry.

During the keynote Dr. Steiner reviewed the history of time-triggered technologies from the early beginnings of the Time-Triggered Protocol (TTP) up to the current days with the ongoing standardization process of over 20 new standards and amendments carried out within the IEEE TSN task group. The overview extended towards the configurability and inter-operativity standardization efforts directed by different industrial bodies and alliances like OPC UA, AvNu, and the Industrial Leaders Alliance. To this respect, it was highlighted that TSN covers a large umbrella of standards and it is often not easy to identify which of these are implemented in the first TSN-compliant components currently hitting the market. The interoperability of components from different vendors is, therefore, additionally subject to the compliance with those industrial initiatives, which narrow down some of the details left to interpretation by the standards. Closing the keynote, Dr. Steiner walked the audience along those research directions currently representing a direct interest for industry, highlighting those contributions with potential to rise a higher appreciation and impulse the adoption of TSN networks within the automotive and industrial automation domains. Among them, it was acknowledged that the large number of parameters exposed by the sum of TSN standards represent a challenge by itself. Hence, the study of trade-offs within the configuration space and analysis of network configuration methods represents a direct interest for industry. Furthermore, mechanisms to dynamically request, deploy and orchestrate configurations are needed. The integration of TSN mechanisms in brown field deployments is as well a necessary step to allow the adoption of new technologies without jeopardizing the functionality of existing deployments. Further extension of TSN networks towards upper communication layers, as envisioned by Fog and Cloud computing services is an interesting line of research. Parallel to these directions, topics like security, scheduling, and network analysis remain as highly interesting topics. As a lesson learned from the past in relation to the industry and academic collaboration, Dr. Steiner pointed out that industrial acceptance and potential market impact of novel technologies is not typically achieved by means of iteratively reinventing and refactoring existing solutions. Standardization times and efforts are extensive, and industry tends to take slow steps in their adoption. Examples of failed attempts were given by looking at the large number of real-time Ethernet variants developed in former years, out of which very few were adopted by industry. Instead, working on existing standards, like TSN, and exploring their appropriateness to domain specific problems is key to finding successful synergies between industry players.

The collaborative session started with the short presentations of two posters and one demo later displayed to the audience. The topics presented included fault tolerance proofs and formal verification models, analysis of proactive redundancy mechanisms, and a demonstration of advance scheduling and analysis tools for a variety of TSN scheduling algorithms. After the presentations authors had the time to engage in vivid and constructive discussions, which were later reported as highly valuable for their research. Unfortunately, some of the discussions had to be cut due to timing constraints but valuable synergies among different groups were discovered and will hopefully result in fruitful collaborations.

RTN 2018 has been a success in attendance and participation. The newly introduced collaborative session has been greatly received and the participation during the presentation of the two posters and demo has shown a good spirit of collaboration between the different groups. With respect to the Keynote, the topics and messages presented by Dr. Steiner shown to be insightful during the wrapping up round in which participants related key aspects of the keynote while addressing the main lessons learned from the workshop. Particular value was given to the suggested research directions and the acknowledgement of TSN exposing a large number of parameters for which their configurability analysis remains an open challenge. It was further discussed how different work presented during the workshop addressing individual aspects of TSN had the potential to integrate as part of a complete end-to-end solution. The relation and mapping of existing concepts to new technologies was also a topic of discussion. For example, well known trends like software defined networking (SDN) has the potential to map seamlessly in the mechanisms envisioned in TSN for the deployment and orchestration of TSN networks, as similarly, network analysis tools and methods, like those based on network calculus, provide the basis for latency analysis and interference required in the computation of latency bounds for the different traffic shaping policies in TSN. Despite the main focus of interest in this occasion was given to TSN networks we maintained an inclusive program extending to other real-time networking domains, including critical adaptive distributed systems as well as energy and latency analysis tooling for soft real-time networks. RTN 2018 was concluded with an acknowledgement to the reviewers for their good and qualitative work and the expectations put in next year venue.

Mathieu Jan and Ramon Serna Oliver,
RTN 2018 workshop chairs

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Last update: 2-15-2019

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