Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (3-19-12): Educating Embedded Software Engineers - Embedded.com

Embedded.com Tech Focus Newsletter (3-19-12): Educating Embedded Software Engineers

Embedded Newsletter for 03-19-2012

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March 19, 2012

Tech Focus: Educating Embedded Software Engineers


The education of embedded systems software engineers: failures and fixes

Engineering the next generation DESIGN West meet-up

Study finds that software getting more important

Editor's Note

Bernard Cole Bernard Cole
Site Editor

For more than 20 years, the continuing education of embedded software developers has been a major focus of the Embedded Systems Conference, Embedded Systems Design Magazine, and Embedded.com. In ESD and on Embedded.com, we do this by providing design articles, white papers, and webinars such as those included in this week's Tech Focus newsletter. Of these, my Editor's Top Picks are:

Expressive vs. permissive languages: Is that the question?
Dive into C++ and survive
Ada and Java: real time advantages
Real men program in C

The role of the Embedded Systems Conferences is to provide developers at all levels of experience, from students to advanced, with up-to-date, hands-on classes on all aspects embedded software engineering. At ESC DESIGN West , March 26 to 29, this will include four conference tracks on software engineering issues.

But the continued vitality of embedded systems design depends on reversing a trend among students in the U.S., who when entering college choose career paths other than in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). At ESC DESIGN West next week, there is an Engineering The Next Generation meet up on March 28 to network with others concerned about this issue, as well as a panel on Engineering the Next Generation in the DESIGN West Theater.

But what if we are successful in this effort and we find the universities are unable to provide the kind of education necessary? That is the fear of Adaware's Robert Deware in “The education of embedded systems software engineers: failures and fixes.” In it, he outlines the many failings of U.S. university software engineering education, and suggests some ways to deal with the problem. It is an article I found both disturbing and hopeful.

Design How-Tos

The education of embedded systems software engineers: failures and fixes

A professional embedded systems software engineer requires specific knowledge in a number of areas, together with problem-solving skills to apply this knowledge as a team member in building safe, secure, and reliable systems. Regrettably, says Adacore's Robert Dewar, university Computer Science programs fail to provide either.

Expressive vs. permissive languages: Is that the question?

The ease with which code is analyzable depends of the language type you use

Adopting C programming conventions

This ESC paper discusses some common problems found in a lot of code and suggests strategies for avoiding them.

Seventeen steps to safer C code

Here are 17 tips for writing safety-critical C code using methods adapted from C++ and Ada.

Guidelines for using C++ as an alternative to C in embedded designs: Part 1

In this two part tutorial, Colin Walls addresses the well-known barriers to use of C++ by C programmers, and provides some guidelines including cleaning up C and an in-between alternative he calls “C+.” First up: Why is C++ not more widely used?

Dive in to C++ and survive

Programmer Christopher White guides you through the hazards of learning the ins and outs of the C++ language, the books to read, the tools to use and how to begin using it effectively in your embedded systems designs.

Ada and Java: real-time advantages

Ada and Java offer strengths for real-time programming and built-in support for multithreading. Join us for a look at what these two under-appreciated languages offer developers of embedded software.

High-integrity object-oriented programming with Ada – Part 1

Learn the benefits of object-oriented programming and the pitfalls to avoid.

Realtime programming in Java: Part 1

In this first in a two part series on the Real-Time Specification for Java (RTSJ), the authors describe how developers can eliminate unpredictable latencies introduced by Java's garbage collector, exercise full control over thread priorities, and handle asynchronous events with ease.

Improve Real-Time Java performance and reliability with ScopedMemory Allocation: Part 1

This article describes a system of Java 5.0 style annotations which enables static analysis tools to prove that ScopedMemory protocols are followed correctly within methods that make use of ScopedMemory objects.

Agile embedded software development

Developers flee engineering for marketing and management. Why? Big processes are not delivering, and neither is coding chaos. This author says Agile helps address the problems of late projects, high defect levels, and stressed teams.

Embedded Systems Bookshelf


Embedded Books Reading Room
Bernard Cole's favorite links to book excerpts.


Engineer's Bookshelf
Airport fiction blows. A look at books other engineers are reading and why you should read them, too. Recommend and write a review yourself. E-mail Brian Fuller.

Jack Ganssle's Bookshelf
A list of book reviews by Jack Ganssle, contributing technical editor of Embedded Systems Design and Embedded.com.

Max's Cool Beans
Clive “Max” Maxfield, the editor on Programmable Logic DesignLine, often writes about interesting books.


dSPACE TargetLink 3.3 supports AUTOSAR 4.0 and 3.2

TargetLink 3.3 is the new version of dSPACE's production code generator, providing expanded features for AUTOSAR-compliant development of electronic control units and supporting the latest AUTOSAR standards 4.0 and 3.2.

Raima re-bundles their Raima Database Manager packages to align with market trends

Raima has changed how they bundle their Raima Database Manager (RDM) system software, starting with the upcoming release of RDM 11.

ITTIA DB SQL data distribution bridges QNX with SQL Server

ITTIA has added new features to its ITTIA DB SQL data distribution features for the QNX Neutrino Realtime Operating System (RTOS).

Blue Pearl Software supports Synopsys Synplify Pro FPGA design flow

See Blue Pearl at DATE March 13-15, 2012, Dresden, Germany; also demos at SNUG, March 26, 2012, Santa Clara, California.

Packet processing software optimized for TI's KeyStone II multicore processors

6WINDGate software accelerates time-to-market for TI customers designing networking products in mobile and cloud infrastructure markets

Digi launches embedded application development kit for Android

The included iDigi Cloud Connector for Android enables customers, with literally a single line of software code, to completely cloud enable their devices.

RTI extends publish-subscribe DDS from Mil/Aero into commercial mainstream

With Connext tool suite, Real-Time Innovations's new strategy is to extend its publish-subscribe Distributed Data Service product line beyond Aerospace and Defense to a variety of industrial and commercial applications and beyond device designers to IT systems developers.

News & Analysis

DESIGN West preview: Tesla CTO keynoting on EV innovation

JB Straubel, chief technical officer and a founding team member of Tesla Motors, will discuss the challenges of creating electric cars in a keynote speech at the DESIGN West conference March 26-29 in San Jose.

Freescale to demo Cortex-M0+ Kinetis devices at DESIGN West

Freescale Semiconductor is to demonstrate its Kinetis L series microcontrollers (MCUs) built on the ARM Cortex-M0+ processor at DESIGN West in San Jose, California, with alpha sampling ofdue to start in the second quarter of 2012.

Website provides activities for engineering and STEM education

Vernier Software & Technology has created a Web site for science,technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators that offers lab activities such as investigating how concrete cures, writing a program to control an RC servo motor, providing an LED alarm when a force threshold is surpassed, and more.

Adding voices to the STEM conversation

Two of our editors are set to present at an IEEE conference in New Jersey March 9 on STEM education and mentoring.

STEM $ go to root of U.S. competitiveness

The America Competes Act directs funds to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education from grade school to graduate school, addressing what many believe is the root cause of the United States' diminished international competitiveness.


Engineering the next generation DESIGN West meet-up

Mentoring seems to be a natural instinct for engineers. Engineers see someone in need of a helping hand and step in, just like they would if a design needed help.

Software Engineering versus “real” engineering

Some wags call software engineering an oxymoron. What's needed to change this perception?

Making “Software Engineering” Engineering

Are there provable theoretical underpinnings behind software engineering?

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