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List, a CEA Tech institute, has been helping Safran experiment with how to integrate critical and non-critical avionics applications into a manycore architecture. The demonstrator system, presented at the ERTS trade show in Toulouse, garnered the full satisfaction of the people at Safran involved in the project.
Safran turned to List to assess the potential of CEA Tech spinoff Kalray’s manycore architecture, which integrates up to 256 processors on a single chip, for future applications in avionics—an industry with stringent certification requirements. Our researchers set out to determine if the computing power offered by manycore architectures could be used to speed up critical in-flight applications, and if both critical and non-critical applications could be executed on the same chip. And List’s experience designing secure multi- and manycore embedded systems was particularly useful.
The researchers started by determining which architecture configurations would allow the execution of experimental aircraft engine control software—a critical application requiring certification before use on board an aircraft—without generating any disturbances. A demonstrator system was then built to show that mixed-criticality applications could be run without interference. It combined the engine control codes and a complex engine health monitoring function (average criticality). When run in parallel with the secure engine control application on the demonstrator, execution speeds for the monitoring application were 35 times faster than the control speed (measured on a commercially-available processor in lab conditions using experimental measurement techniques). Safran employees assigned to the project were more than pleased with the results!
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.