The Internet Meets Embedded Systems

William Nace & Philip Koopman

ECE Department & Institute for Complex Engineered Systems
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Invited talk, IBM Conference on Third Wave of Connectivity, IBM Academy of Technology, April 18, 2001, Yorktown, NY..


Most embedded computing systems have dramatically different tradeoffs, requirements, and technology constraints than desktop computing systems in general, and Internet-based systems in particular. As they attempt to improve the quality of everyday life, Embedded Internet designers will either have to interface to traditional embedded systems or re-solve problems unique to embedded applications. Beyond that, integrating Internet technology with embedded applications will create a host of new problems and opportunities.

This talk discusses some of the fundamental differences between classical embedded and Internet-based systems, and speculates on problems likely to result from combining these two very different areas. Experience from a case study on porting Jini to an embedded automotive testbed suggests that combining embedded and Internet technology will be difficult at both a technical and cultural level. It seems likely that the hardest problems can only be resolved by using carefully designed system architectures that emphasize properties such as security, temporal isolation, portable data representation, self-stabilization, and graceful degradation.

Slides from conference presentation: