Thought Leadership

ESC Boston 2017

By Colin Walls

This week I will be at the Embedded Systems Conference in Boston. Each year, there are a number of ESC events around the US – some are more permanent and successful than others. ESC Boston has been revived in recent years and I have been fortunate enough to have some papers accepted and have the opportunity to visit one of my favorite American cities. This year is no exception …

ESC takes place over Weds/Thurs, but I will only be attending the first day, as I have two presentations to make:

Power Management in Embedded Systems [Weds at 10:00]

The importance of power management in today’s embedded designs has been steadily growing as an increasing number of battery powered devices are developed. Often power optimizations are left to the very end of the project cycle, almost as an afterthought. In this paper we will discuss design considerations that should be made when starting a new power sensitive embedded design, which include choosing the hardware with desired capabilities, defining a hardware architecture that will allow software to dynamically control power consumption, defining appropriate power usage profiles, making the appropriate choice of an operating system and drivers, choosing measurable power goals and providing these goals to the software development team to track throughout the development process.

Dynamic Memory Allocation & Fragmentation in C & C++ [Weds at 14:00]

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.

If you are at ESC, do stop by and say hello. Between my sessions, I will be round and about. My plan is to follow Max Maxfield’s example and wear a Hawaiian shirt [albeit a subdued one], so hopefully I will be easy to spot! ?

If you would like a copy of either of my presentations, please contact me via email or social networking

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