Author's School

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Author's Department/Program

Computer Science and Engineering


English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Christopher D Gill


Traditional fixed-priority scheduling analysis for periodic/sporadic task sets is based on the assumption that all tasks are equally critical to the correct operation of the system. Therefore, every task has to be schedulable under the scheduling policy, and estimates of tasks' worst case execution times must be conservative in case a task runs longer than is usual. To address the significant under-utilization of a system's resources under normal operating conditions that can arise from these assumptions, several \emph{mixed-criticality scheduling} approaches have been proposed. However, to date there has been no quantitative comparison of system schedulability or run-time overhead for the different approaches. In this dissertation, we present what is to our knowledge the first side-by-side implementation and evaluation of those approaches, for periodic and sporadic mixed-criticality tasks on uniprocessor or distributed systems, under a mixed-criticality scheduling model that is common to all these approaches. To make a fair evaluation of mixed-criticality scheduling, we also address some previously open issues and propose modifications to improve schedulability and correctness of particular approaches. To facilitate the development and evaluation of mixed-criticality applications, we have designed and developed a distributed real-time middleware, called MCFlow, for mixed-criticality end-to-end tasks running on multi-core platforms. The research presented in this dissertation provides the following contributions to the state of the art in real-time middleware: (1) an efficient component model through which dependent subtask graphs can be configured flexibly for execution within a single core, across cores of a common host, or spanning multiple hosts; (2) support for optimizations to inter-component communication to reduce data copying without sacrificing the ability to execute subtasks in parallel; (3) a strict separation of timing and functional concerns so that they can be configured independently; (4) an event dispatching architecture that uses lock free algorithms where possible to reduce memory contention, CPU context switching, and priority inversion; and (5) empirical evaluations of MCFlow itself and of different mixed criticality scheduling approaches both with a single host and end-to-end across multiple hosts. The results of our evaluation show that in terms of basic distributed real-time behavior MCFlow performs comparably to the state of the art TAO real-time object request broker when only one core is used and outperforms TAO when multiple cores are involved. We also identify and categorize different use cases under which different mixed criticality scheduling approaches are preferable.


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