Exploiting Synchrony for Transparent Communication Services Testing

The FIT-IT project ExTraCT — Exploiting Synchrony for Transparent Communication Services Testing — is dedicated to the concept and development of a novel method to enable the transparent testing of time-triggered communication protocols.
logo500.jpg 

Quintessence

The FIT-IT project ExTraCT — Exploiting Synchrony for Transparent Communication Services Testing — is dedicated to the concept and development of a novel method to enable the transparent testing of time-triggered communication protocols.

Abstract

Electronics is already widely used in cars (e.g. infotainment and body electronics) and is planned to be introduced for safety-critical operation such ”by-wire systems”. Systematic and accurate testing is therefore essential for establishing safety cases and is currently subject of intensive research. Traditional test methods are based on the generation of a stimulus (test vector) and the analysis of the system reaction. Because of the low accessibility of the internal protocol mechanisms, embedded distributed systems usually provide additional local functionalities to enhance the testability. Such methods, however, require additional resources, are intrusive, and lead to interruption of normal services. 

The innovation of this project is to develop a framework to remotely apply given test vectors and analyze system reaction transparently to the application. This transparency aims at (1) providing observability of the node’s internal mechanisms, thus enabling generic (application independent), non intrusive and remote test procedures, and (2) enabling concurrent test execution and normal system operation and hence increasing test coverage in making online tests possible.

The context of this project is the TDMA scheme of modern distributed communication systems and the availability of a globally agreed time base achieved by a continuous correction of local clocks. The basic idea is to produce an identifiable bus traffic carrier which the nodes under test (NUT) have to synchronize to. Then, the analysis of the messages transmitted by the NUT signalizes whether the carrier was correctly received (NUT stayed synchronous) or not, and consequently provide information about the internal mechanisms that would not be available otherwise. The bus traffic carrier can be further coupled with state of the art test vector generation approaches (such as proposed by the FIT-IT supported STEACS project) and thus enable systematic and transparent test of the communication services. Feasibility studies will be performed on a demonstrator setup to verify the concept.

Project aims

The main objective of this project is the development of a novel framework for transparent test operations of time-triggered communication protocols.

Transparent, in our case, describes two attributes. First, transparent in the sense of non-intrusive, means to keep the node unmodified and consequently do not change the node’s behavior neither in the value domain nor in the time domain. Second, transparent in terms of system operation – to enable continuous system operation while test execution. This property provides (a) a guarantee of correct operation of every involved mechanism, and (b) a representative workload and system environment (e.g. temperature or humidity) for more relevant results.

The fundamental milestones of the project are:
• availability of a complete concept for the transparent tests of time-triggered communication systems
• running prototyp platform based on the developed concepts
• experimental evaluation of the method's properties

People

Ao.Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Andreas Steininger
Dipl.-Ing. Eric Armengaud

Links

More information on FIT-IT http://www.fit-it.at

UT Vienna project database http://www.tuwien.ac.at/forschung

Publications

Doctoral Thesis

[1] A Transparent Online Test Approach for Time-Triggered Communication Protocols
E. Armengaud, PhD thesis, Vienna University of Technology, Institute of Computer Engineering, Embedded Computing Systems Group, 2008


Workshops and Conferences

[1]  ExTraCT: A New Approach for the Transparent Test of Time-Triggered Communication Systems. E. Armengaud. 18. Workshop "Testmethoden und Zuverlässigkeit von Schaltungen und Systemen" (ITG/GMM 2006), Titisee, Germany, March 12-14, 2006, pp. 63-67.

[2]  Low Level Bus Traffic Replay for the Test and Debugging of Time-Triggered Communication Systems. E. Armengaud. 9th IEEE Workshop on Design & Diagnostics of Electronic Circuits & Systems (DDECS 2005), Prague, Czech Republic, April 18-21, 2006, pp 155-156.

[3] A Remote and Transparent Approach for the Test and Diagnosis of Automotive Networks. E. Armengaud. Junior Scientist Conference (JSC 2006), Vienna, Austria, April 19-21, 2006, pp 11-12.

[4] Pushing the Limits of Remote Online Diagnosis in FlexRay Networks.
E. Armengaud and A. Steininger. 6th International Workshop on Factory Communication Systems (WFCS 2006), Torino, Italy, June 28-30, 2006, pp. 45-54.

[5] The Effect of Quartz Drift on Convergence-Average based Clock Synchronization
E. Armengaud, A. Steininger and A. Hanzlik. 12th IEEE International Conference on Emerging Technologies and Factory Automation (ETFA 2007), Patras, Greece, September 26-28, 2007, pp. 1123-1130.

[6] A Novel Interconnection Approach for Globally Asynchronous Locally Synchronous Circuits
W. Forster and E. Armengaud. Austrochip (Austrochip 2007), Graz - Austria, October 2007, p. 8

[7] Experimental Evaluation of the FlexRay Clock Synchronization Service
E. Armengaud, 20. ITG/GI/GMM Workshop, Testmethoden und Zuverlässigkeit von Schlatungen und System (TuZ  2008), Vienna, Austria, Februar 2008, p. 85-90.

[8] Safe Deterministic Replay for Stimulating the Clock Synchronization Algorithm in Time-Triggered Systems
E. Armengaud, M. Függer and A. Steininger. 7th IEEE International Workshop on Factory Communication Systems (WFCS  2008), Dresden, Germany, May 2008,  p. 277-286.
(Best Paper Awards)

Acknowledgments

This work is supported by FIT-IT in the track Embedded Systems under project number 810834.

FIT-IT is a program of the bmvit (Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology) in cooperation with FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency Ltd.) managed by eutema (eutema Technology Management).

           




Quintessence

The FIT-IT project ExTraCT — Exploiting Synchrony for Transparent Communication Services Testing — is dedicated to the concept and development of a novel method to enable the transparent testing of time-triggered communication protocols.

Abstract

Electronics is already widely used in cars (e.g. infotainment and body electronics) and is planned to be introduced for safety-critical operation such ”by-wire systems”. Systematic and accurate testing is therefore essential for establishing safety cases and is currently subject of intensive research. Traditional test methods are based on the generation of a stimulus (test vector) and the analysis of the system reaction. Because of the low accessibility of the internal protocol mechanisms, embedded distributed systems usually provide additional local functionalities to enhance the testability. Such methods, however, require additional resources, are intrusive, and lead to interruption of normal services. 

The innovation of this project is to develop a framework to remotely apply given test vectors and analyze system reaction transparently to the application. This transparency aims at (1) providing observability of the node’s internal mechanisms, thus enabling generic (application independent), non intrusive and remote test procedures, and (2) enabling concurrent test execution and normal system operation and hence increasing test coverage in making online tests possible.

The context of this project is the TDMA scheme of modern distributed communication systems and the availability of a globally agreed time base achieved by a continuous correction of local clocks. The basic idea is to produce an identifiable bus traffic carrier which the nodes under test (NUT) have to synchronize to. Then, the analysis of the messages transmitted by the NUT signalizes whether the carrier was correctly received (NUT stayed synchronous) or not, and consequently provide information about the internal mechanisms that would not be available otherwise. The bus traffic carrier can be further coupled with state of the art test vector generation approaches (such as proposed by the FIT-IT supported STEACS project) and thus enable systematic and transparent test of the communication services. Feasibility studies will be performed on a demonstrator setup to verify the concept.

Project aims

The main objective of this project is the development of a novel framework for transparent test operations of time-triggered communication protocols.

Transparent, in our case, describes two attributes. First, transparent in the sense of non-intrusive, means to keep the node unmodified and consequently do not change the node’s behavior neither in the value domain nor in the time domain. Second, transparent in terms of system operation – to enable continuous system operation while test execution. This property provides (a) a guarantee of correct operation of every involved mechanism, and (b) a representative workload and system environment (e.g. temperature or humidity) for more relevant results.

The fundamental milestones of the project are:
• availability of a complete concept for the transparent tests of time-triggered communication systems
• running prototyp platform based on the developed concepts
• experimental evaluation of the method's properties

People

Ao.Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Andreas Steininger
Dipl.-Ing. Eric Armengaud

Links

More information on FIT-IT http://www.fit-it.at

UT Vienna project database http://www.tuwien.ac.at/forschung

Publications

Doctoral Thesis

[1] A Transparent Online Test Approach for Time-Triggered Communication Protocols
E. Armengaud, PhD thesis, Vienna University of Technology, Institute of Computer Engineering, Embedded Computing Systems Group, 2008


Workshops and Conferences

[1]  ExTraCT: A New Approach for the Transparent Test of Time-Triggered Communication Systems. E. Armengaud. 18. Workshop "Testmethoden und Zuverlässigkeit von Schaltungen und Systemen" (ITG/GMM 2006), Titisee, Germany, March 12-14, 2006, pp. 63-67.

[2]  Low Level Bus Traffic Replay for the Test and Debugging of Time-Triggered Communication Systems. E. Armengaud. 9th IEEE Workshop on Design & Diagnostics of Electronic Circuits & Systems (DDECS 2005), Prague, Czech Republic, April 18-21, 2006, pp 155-156.

[3] A Remote and Transparent Approach for the Test and Diagnosis of Automotive Networks. E. Armengaud. Junior Scientist Conference (JSC 2006), Vienna, Austria, April 19-21, 2006, pp 11-12.

[4] Pushing the Limits of Remote Online Diagnosis in FlexRay Networks.
E. Armengaud and A. Steininger. 6th International Workshop on Factory Communication Systems (WFCS 2006), Torino, Italy, June 28-30, 2006, pp. 45-54.

[5] The Effect of Quartz Drift on Convergence-Average based Clock Synchronization
E. Armengaud, A. Steininger and A. Hanzlik. 12th IEEE International Conference on Emerging Technologies and Factory Automation (ETFA 2007), Patras, Greece, September 26-28, 2007, pp. 1123-1130.

[6] A Novel Interconnection Approach for Globally Asynchronous Locally Synchronous Circuits
W. Forster and E. Armengaud. Austrochip (Austrochip 2007), Graz - Austria, October 2007, p. 8

[7] Experimental Evaluation of the FlexRay Clock Synchronization Service
E. Armengaud, 20. ITG/GI/GMM Workshop, Testmethoden und Zuverlässigkeit von Schlatungen und System (TuZ  2008), Vienna, Austria, Februar 2008, p. 85-90.

[8] Safe Deterministic Replay for Stimulating the Clock Synchronization Algorithm in Time-Triggered Systems
E. Armengaud, M. Függer and A. Steininger. 7th IEEE International Workshop on Factory Communication Systems (WFCS  2008), Dresden, Germany, May 2008,  p. 277-286.
(Best Paper Awards)

Acknowledgments

This work is supported by FIT-IT in the track Embedded Systems under project number 810834.

FIT-IT is a program of the bmvit (Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology) in cooperation with FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency Ltd.) managed by eutema (eutema Technology Management).