License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0)
When quoting this document, please refer to the following
DOI: 10.4230/LIPIcs.ECOOP.2022.17
URN: urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-162452
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Sarkar, Abhiroop ; Svensson, Bo Joel ; Sheeran, Mary

Synchron - An API and Runtime for Embedded Systems

LIPIcs-ECOOP-2022-17.pdf (1 MB)


Programming embedded applications involves writing concurrent, event-driven and timing-aware programs. Traditionally, such programs are written in machine-oriented programming languages like C or Assembly. We present an alternative by introducing Synchron, an API that offers high-level abstractions to the programmer while supporting the low-level infrastructure in an associated runtime system and one-time-effort drivers.
Embedded systems applications exhibit the general characteristics of being (i) concurrent, (ii) I/O-bound and (iii) timing-aware. To address each of these concerns, the Synchron API consists of three components - (1) a Concurrent ML (CML) inspired message-passing concurrency model, (2) a message-passing-based I/O interface that translates between low-level interrupt based and memory-mapped peripherals, and (3) a timing operator, syncT, that marries CML’s sync operator with timing windows inspired from the TinyTimber kernel.
We implement the Synchron API as the bytecode instructions of a virtual machine called SynchronVM. SynchronVM hosts a Caml-inspired functional language as its frontend language, and the backend of the VM supports the STM32F4 and NRF52 microcontrollers, with RAM in the order of hundreds of kilobytes. We illustrate the expressiveness of the Synchron API by showing examples of expressing state machines commonly found in embedded systems. The timing functionality is demonstrated through a music programming exercise. Finally, we provide benchmarks on the response time, jitter rates, memory, and power usage of the SynchronVM.

BibTeX - Entry

  author =	{Sarkar, Abhiroop and Svensson, Bo Joel and Sheeran, Mary},
  title =	{{Synchron - An API and Runtime for Embedded Systems}},
  booktitle =	{36th European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP 2022)},
  pages =	{17:1--17:29},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-225-9},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2022},
  volume =	{222},
  editor =	{Ali, Karim and Vitek, Jan},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-162452},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.ECOOP.2022.17},
  annote =	{Keywords: real-time, concurrency, functional programming, runtime, virtual machine}

Keywords: real-time, concurrency, functional programming, runtime, virtual machine
Collection: 36th European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP 2022)
Issue Date: 2022
Date of publication: 23.06.2022
Supplementary Material: Software (ECOOP 2022 Artifact Evaluation approved artifact): archived at:

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