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UML 2.0 provides a rich set of diagrams for systems documentation and specification. Many efforts have been undertaken to employ different aspects of UML for multiple domains, mainly in the area of software systems. Considering the area of electronic desig

A Model-Based Approach for Executable Specifications

on Reconfigurable Hardware

Tim Schattkowsky, Wolfgang Mueller, Achim Rettberg

University of Paderborn/C-LAB

Paderborn, Germany

with platform-independent models (PIMs). PIMs have to Abstract

be mapped to platform-specific models (PSMs), which are used for the actual implementation. In that context, the UML 2.0 provides a rich set of diagrams for systems

notion of Executable UML plays a significant role, as it documentation and specification. Many efforts have been

enables a UML-based PSM to become executable. undertaken to employ different aspects of UML for

We introduce a novel approach to efficiently execute multiple domains, mainly in the area of software systems.

specifications on FPGAs. The specifications are defined Considering the area of electronic design automation,

by an UML 2.0 subset with precise behavioral semantics however, we currently see only very few approaches,

which investigate UML for hardware design and executing on our Abstract Execution Platform (AEP). Our

UML subset covers Classes, StateMachines, and hardware/software co-design. In this article, we present

Interactions (given as Sequence Diagrams) with software an approach for executable UML closing the gap from

exceptions, interrupts, and timeouts. We apply a virtual system specification to its model-based execution on

machine concept to implement the AEP on a FPGA. The reconfigurable hardware. For this purpose, we present

AEP virtual machine directly executes binary encoded our Abstract Execution Platform (AEP), which is based

specifications, which resemble the object-oriented on a Virtual Machine running an executable UML subset

structure of the UML specification and combine efficient for embedded software and reconfigurable hardware.

execution of state-transition tables with Activities, and This subset combines UML 2.0 Class, StateMachine and

Actions compiled to a Motorola 68K-like bytecode with Sequence Diagrams for complete system specification. We

object-oriented extensions. describe how these binary encoded UML specifications

The remainder of this paper is structured as follows. can be directly executed and give the implementation of

The next section discusses related works. Section 3 such a virtual machine on a Virtex II FPGA. Finally, we

present evaluation results comparing the AEP introduces the UML subset defining syntax and semantics

for AEP specifications. Section 4 presents the concept of implementation with C code on a C167 microcontroller.

direct execution of specifications on a virtual machine. Section 5 introduces our implementation on a FPGA 1. Introduction

before Section 6 closes with summary and conclusion. We currently can identify multiple gaps in the design of embedded and electronic systems, from specification to a first implementation. In current practice, all approaches follow a platform-specific code generation. For most tools, various code generator targets are available for different microcontrollers such as C167 and different Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOSs) like OSEK [10]. There have been many efforts to investigate retargetable compilers to easily adopt them to different hardware platforms [7].

Most recently, the MDA approach (Model-Driven Architecture) [17] became well recognized in the domain of embedded software and hardware systems. MDA is based on the idea of platform-independent development

2. Related Works

Based on Starr’s approach to executable UML [15], which is mainly based on class and state diagrams, Project Technology developed XTUML [12] as an executable and translatable UML subset for embedded real-time systems in the areas of flight-critical systems, performance-critical fault-tolerant telecom systems, and resource-constrained consumer electronics. Their Nucleus Modeling tools basically integrate abstract, macro-like constructs, which are easily retargetable to the various C-dialects of different microcontroller platforms. A second approach to executable UML is xUML [19], which also includes a

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