Thought Leadership

ESC Boston

By Colin Walls

The first Embedded Systems Conference [ESC] took place in San Jose back in the early 1990s [if I recall correctly]. The annual conference quickly became the key event for learning about embedded systems and spawned other, similar events at various other US locations and abroad. In recent years, there have been changes of ownership and lots of rebranding – every year the conference seemed to have a new name!

But, in 2015, it is time to return to terminology we all recognize and there are a number of ESC events scheduled. The first is next week in Boston, MA …

I will be in Boston for the show and have a number of activities scheduled:

Wednesday 09:00-09:45 – Dynamic Memory Allocation & Fragmentation in C & C++

In C and C++, it can be very convenient to allocate and de-allocate blocks of memory as and when needed. This is certainly standard practice in both languages and almost unavoidable in C++. However, the handling of such dynamic memory can be problematic and inefficient. For desktop applications, where memory is freely available, these difficulties can be ignored. For embedded – generally real time – applications, ignoring the issues is not an option.
Dynamic memory allocation tends to be non-deterministic; the time taken to allocate memory may not be predictable and the memory pool may become fragmented, resulting in unexpected allocation failures. In this session the problems will be outlined in detail and an approach to deterministic dynamic memory allocation detailed.

Thursday 14:00-14:45 – USB 3 – An Introduction for Embedded Software Developers

USB is widely deployed in embedded devices of all kinds, resulting in simple interconnectivity and interoperability. This simplicity comes at a cost: the internal functions of USB are quite complex. This is of no consequence to the user of a USB-enabled device, but the embedded software developer does need some understanding of USB internals. Even if a commercial USB stack is employed, an appreciation of how it works enables it to be used optimally.
In this session, the history and internal operation of USB will be reprised in detail. Then, the changes and enhancements that came along with USB 3 will be reviewed. The planned enhancements with USB 3.1 will also be outlined.

Thursday 15:00-15:45 – RTOS Smackdown: 7 RTOSes in 45 Minutes!

This is an event driven by Clive [Max] Maxfield and I think the title says it all! I will be there to put forward the case for Nucleus.
If you are at ESC Boston, I hope you can come along to one or more of these events. Do come along and say hi.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at