ESC Boston 2011: Classes I'd attend if there were two (or more) of me

August 25, 2011

Bernard Cole-August 25, 2011

Go to ESC Boston.
No matter what its venue, the problem I always have with the Embedded Systems Conference is that there is not enough of me to go around.

Not only do I want to cruise the show floor and talk to developers, I also want to corner as many tool and building-block vendors as I can and talk to them about what they're introducing and what they've got in the planning stages.

And then there are the ESC classes. Even if attending classes was all I had to do, there are too many classes and opportunities to talk to hardware engineers and software developers attending them for just one of me.

I'll be facing this dilemma at the upcoming ESC in Boston, Sept. 26-29. Looking over the agenda of about 120 classes for the conference, as expected I have identified too many classes I want to attend. They fall into five categories:

  • Agile program development
  • Android/Linux
  • ARM processor development
  • Multicore programming
  • Security

Following are my Editor's Top Picks in these categories and a few thoughts about their significance.

Agile software development
Because the need for software quality is increasing as embedded designs become more complex, I have paid a lot of attention to classes that will provide useful information on the Agile software development methodology. At ESC in Boston, these include:

In Agile embedded software development (ESC-300) James Grenning, president of Renaissance Software Consulting Company, introduces the principles and practices of Agile software development and offers details on how this iterative technique can be applied effectively to embedded designs.

Agile model driven development (ESC-206). Independent Consultant and UML Guru Stephen J. Mellor will demonstrate how the addition of the concept of "actions" to model-driven environments such as UML makes it possible to apply many of the principles of agility to executable models.

Agile and the embedded developer (ST-02) is another must attend class. Freescale's Robert Oshana takes the discussion of Agile development from the general and theoretical to the specific and practical, detailing some of his experiences in actual Agile-based embedded projects and how you can to leverage this approach in your specific designs.

I've followed the commentary on about the need for better software quality by ESD columnist Jack Ganssle, who will also be presenting at the conference. A few of the responses to his columns are truculent and dismissive. And even where there is agreement in general and in principle about the need, when it comes to their specific designs most did not feel a compelling need.

Given the role embedded systems are playing in our lives, this attitude will have to change, and I think that these speakers and others in the Project Management track will do much to change your mind.

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