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A Domain-Specific Language for Protocol Stack Implementation in Embedded Systems
Halmstad University, School of Information Science, Computer and Electrical Engineering (IDE), Halmstad Embedded and Intelligent Systems Research (EIS), Centre for Research on Embedded Systems (CERES).
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Embedded network software has become increasingly interesting for both research and business as more and more networked embedded systems emerge. Well-known infrastructure protocol stacks are reimplemented on new embedded hardware and software architectures. New requirements of modern applications and devices require to implement newly designed or revised protocols. However, implementing protocol stacks for embedded systems remains a time-consuming and error-prone task due to the complexity and performancecritical nature of network software. It is even more so when targeting resource constrained embedded systems: implementations have to minimize energy consumption, memory usage etc., while programming efficiency is needed to improve on time-to-market, scalability, maintainability and product evolution. Therefore, it is worth researching on how to make protocol stack implementations for embedded systems both easier and more likely to be correct within the resource limits.

In the work presented in this thesis, we take a language-based approach and aim to facilitate the implementation of protocol stacks while realizing performance demands and being aware of energy consumption and memory usage within the constraints imposed by embedded systems. We give background on DSL implementation techniques, investigate common practices in network protocol development to determine the potential of domain-specifi languages (DSLs) for embedded network software, and propose a domain-specifi embedded language (DSEL), Protege (Protocol Implementation Generator), for declaratively describing overlaid protocol stacks. In Protege, a high-level packet specification is dually compiled into an internal data representation for protocol logic implementation, and packet processing methods which are then integrated into the dataflow framework of a protocol overlay specification. Constructs for finite state machines allow to specify protocol logic in a concise manner, close to the protocol specification style. Protege specifications are compiled to highly portable C code for various architectures.

Four attached scientific papers report our main results in more detail: an embedded implementation of the data description calculus in Haskell, a compilation framework for generating packet processing code with overlays, the domain-specific language Protege in overview (including embedding techniques and runtime system features), and a real-world case study implementing an industrial application protocol.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet , 2011. , 82 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Technology, ISSN 1650-8580 ; 49
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-16156ISBN: 978-91-7668-795-6 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-16156DiVA: diva2:439070
Public defence
2011-06-08, Wigforssalen, Högskolan i Halmstad, Halmstad, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-09-09 Created: 2011-09-06 Last updated: 2011-09-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A Library for Processing Ad hoc Data in Haskell: Embedding a Data Description Language
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Library for Processing Ad hoc Data in Haskell: Embedding a Data Description Language
2011 (English)In: Implementation and application of functional languages / [ed] Scholz, SB; Chitil, O, Springer, 2011, , 16 p.174-191 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Ad hoc data formats, i.e. semistructured non-standard dataformats, are pervasive in many domains that need software tools—bioinformatics,demographic surveys, geophysics and network software are justa few. Building tools becomes easier if parsing and other standard inputoutputprocessing can be automated. Modern approaches for dealingwith ad hoc data formats consist of domain specific languages based ontype systems. Compilers for these languages generate data structures andparsing functions in a target programming language in which tools andapplications are then written. We present a monadic library in Haskellthat implements a data description language. Using our library, Haskellprogrammers have access to data description primitives that can be usedfor parsing and that can be integrated with other libraries and applicationprograms without the need of yet another compiler.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2011. 16 p.
Series
Lecture Notes in Computer Science, ISSN 0302-9743 ; 5836
Keyword
Ad hoc Data, Haskell
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-95 (URN)000307082400010 ()2-s2.0-80053964182 (Scopus ID)978-3-642-24451-3 (ISBN)
Conference
20th International Symposium, Implementation and Application of Functional Languages, IFL 2008
Projects
IPS
Available from: 2009-10-05 Created: 2009-09-17 Last updated: 2012-09-28Bibliographically approved
2. A Domain Specific Approach to Network Software Architecture: Assuring Conformance Between Architecture and Code
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Domain Specific Approach to Network Software Architecture: Assuring Conformance Between Architecture and Code
2009 (English)In: Fourth International Conference on Digital Telecommunications, 2009. ICDT '09, Piscataway, N.J.: IEEE Press, 2009, 127-132 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Network software is typically organized according toa layered architecture that is well understood. However, writingcorrect and efficient code that conforms with the architecture stillremains a problem. To overcome this problem we propose to usea domain specific language based approach. The architecturalconstraints are captured in a domain specific notation that can beused as a source for automatic program generation. Conformancewith the architecture is thus assured by construction. Knowledgefrom the domain allows us to generate efficient code. In addition,this approach enforces reuse of both code and designs, one ofthe major concerns in software architecture. In this paper, weillustrate our approach with PADDLE, a tool that generates packetprocessing code from packet descriptions. To describe packets weuse a domain specific language of dependent types that includespacket overlays. From the description we generate C librariesfor packet processing that are easy to integrate with other partsof the code. We include an evaluation of our tool.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Piscataway, N.J.: IEEE Press, 2009
Keyword
Network Software Architecture
National Category
Telecommunications Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-96 (URN)10.1109/ICDT.2009.4 (DOI)000274805500026 ()2-s2.0-70449602416 (Scopus ID)978-0-7695-3695-8 (ISBN)
Conference
Fourth International Conference on Digital Telecommunications, 2009. ICDT '09
Note

©2009 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE.

Available from: 2009-10-05 Created: 2009-09-17 Last updated: 2012-09-28Bibliographically approved
3. An embedded language for programming protocol stacks in embedded systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An embedded language for programming protocol stacks in embedded systems
2011 (English)In: PEPM '11: proceedings of the 20th ACM SIGPLAN Workshop on Partial Evaluation and Semantics-Based Program Manipulation, January 24, 2011, Austin, Texas, USA, New York, NY, USA: ACM Press, 2011, 63-72 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Protocol stack specifications are well-structured documents that follow a number of conventions and notations that have proven very useful for the design and dissemination of communication protocols. Protocol stack implementations on the other hand, are done in low-level languages, using error-prone programming techniques resulting in programs that are difficult to relate to the specifications, difficult to maintain, modify, extend and reuse. To overcome these problems we propose a domain-specific language that provides abstractions close to the notations used in protocol specifications. From descriptions in our language we generate C programs that can be integrated with other systems software. The language provides constructs to describe packet formats, including physical layout, constraints and dependencies. It also provides constructs for state machines and for layering protocols into stacks. Experiments show that the C programs we generate are comparable in performance and binary size to hand-crafted C programs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York, NY, USA: ACM Press, 2011
Keyword
domain-specific language, embedded compilation, embedded network software
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-14589 (URN)10.1145/1929501.1929511 (DOI)2-s2.0-79952120257 (Scopus ID)978-1-4503-0485-6 (ISBN)
Conference
PEPM'11
Available from: 2011-03-17 Created: 2011-03-17 Last updated: 2012-09-28Bibliographically approved
4. A Compositional Implementation of Modbus in Protege
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Compositional Implementation of Modbus in Protege
2011 (English)In: 6th IEEE International Symposium on Industrial Embedded Systems (SIES), 2011, Piscataway, N.J.: IEEE Press, 2011, 123-131 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Network protocols today play a major role in embedded software for industrial automation, with constant efforts to adapt existing device software to new emerging standards. In earlier work, we have proposed a compilation-based approach using a domain-specific language, Protege, which automatically generates protocol stack implementations in C from modular high-level descriptions. In this paper, we provide a case study of the Protege language in an industrial setting. We have implemented the Modbus protocol over TCP/IP and over serial line, and tested it using an industrial gateway. Our implementation demonstrates Protege's advantages for software productivity, easy maintenance and code reuse, and it achieves many desirable properties of industrial embedded network software.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Piscataway, N.J.: IEEE Press, 2011
Keyword
Domain specific language, communication protocol
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-16145 (URN)10.1109/SIES.2011.5953654 (DOI)2-s2.0-80052005794 (Scopus ID)978-1-61284-818-1 (ISBN)978-1-61284-819-8 (ISBN)
Conference
6th IEEE International Symposium on Industrial Embedded Systems (SIES 2011))
Projects
CERES - IPS
Available from: 2011-09-06 Created: 2011-09-06 Last updated: 2012-09-28Bibliographically approved

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