Performance Testing and Debugging of Embedded Software


Prof. Abhik Roychoudhury

ACM Distinguished Lecture. 12.11.2013, 15:00, room 3999


Modern embedded systems are often associated with stringent performance, cost and power constraints.  Hence, designing such systems involve guaranteeing that these constraints are met, apart from the usual functional validation. Such systems typically consist of a heterogeneous collection of processors, specialized memory subsystems, and partially programmable or fixed-function components.  This heterogeneity, coupled with issues such as hardware/software partitioning, mapping, scheduling, etc., leads to a large number of design possibilities, thereby making performance debugging of such systems a difficult problem. This talk will provide a comprehensive overview of the recent developments on this front, with focus on timing analysis.

The bulk of the talk will focus on two recent results we have pursued in the domain of software performance debugging, namely

  • Considering the timing effects of the underlying operating system forperformance analysis of embedded software

  • Using functionality analysis methods to systematically generate test cases whichstress the performance spectrum of an application, thereby providing a comprehensivesolution for performance testing. Similar methods can also be developed for energy testing.

No background on timing analysis or performance testing will be assumed and the talk will be self-contained.


Abhik Roychoudhury is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at National University of Singapore, where he has been employed since 2001. Abhik received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2000. His research interests are in software testing, program analysis, and trustworthy software, with specific focus on software for real-time embedded systems.

Abhik has published widely in premier conferences and journals in software engineering and embedded systems.  He has authored a book on "Embedded Systems and Software Validation" published by Elsevier (Morgan Kaufmann) Systems-on-Silicon series in 2009, which has been adopted for teaching at different universities.
Abhik's research has led to scalable and usable analysis tools which enhance software quality as well as programmer productivity. Meaningful examples of such endeavor include the Chronos static analysis tool for ensuring time-predictable software execution, and the JSlice dynamic analysis tool for software debugging.

His group has recently built the very first timing analyzer to predict timing of behavior of software running on multi-cores.  Abhik's research has been recognized by various awards and honors including ACM Distinguished Speaker (2013-16), ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award (from SIGSOFT FSE 2009) and IBM Faculty Award (2008). His research has been funded by various agencies including Ministry of Education, A*STAR and Defense Research and Technology Office DRTech.

He has served in program committees and organizing committess of at least fifty conferences and workshops