Programming Memory-Constrained Networked Embedded Systems. PhD thesis

Dunkels, Adam (2007) Programming Memory-Constrained Networked Embedded Systems. PhD thesis. Doctoral thesis, Mälardalen University.


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Ten years after the Internet revolution are we standing on the brink of another revolution: networked embedded systems that connect the physical world with the computers, enabling new applications ranging from environmental monitoring and wildlife tracking to improvements in health care and medicine. 98% of all microprocessors sold today are used in embedded systems. Those systems have much smaller amounts of memory than PC computers. An embedded system may have as little has a few hundred bytes of memory, which makes programming them a challenge. This thesis focus on three topics regarding programming memory-constrained networked embedded systems: the TCP/IP for memory-constrained networked embedded systems, simplifying event-driven programming of memory-constrained systems, and dynamic loading of program modules in my Contiki operating system for memory-constrained systems. I show that the TCP/IP protocol stack can, contrary to previous belief, be used in memory-constrained embedded systems by implementing two small TCP/IP protocol stacks, lwIP and uIP. I present a novel programming mechanism called protothreads that I show significantly reduce the complexity of event-driven programming for memory-constrained systems. Protothreads provide a conditional blocked wait mechanism on top of event-driven systems with a much smaller memory overhead than full multithreading; each protothread requires only two bytes of memory. I show that dynamic linking of native code in standard ELF object code format is doable and feasible for wireless sensor networks by implementing a dynamic linker in the Contiki operating system. The results show that the energy overhead of dynamic linking of ELF files mainly is due to the ELF file format and not due to the dynamic linking mechanism as such. The impact of the research in this thesis has been and continues to be large. The software I have developed as part of this thesis is currently used by hundreds of companies in embedded devices in such diverse systems as car engines and satellites. The papers in this thesis are included as required reading in advanced courses on networked embedded systems and wireless sensor networks.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Wireless sensor networks, embedded systems, operating systems, programming, networking, TCP/IP
ID Code:912
Deposited By:ISL Researcher
Deposited On:08 Sep 2009
Last Modified:04 Dec 2013 14:17

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