The verification challenge

Embedded-15-02-11-MikeFrom my discussions with members and around the industry, verification was identified as a significant challenge within embedded software and one that is getting harder to satisfy. It seemed appropriate for the Special Interest Group to take this as a starting point for a very productive and lively workshop. XMOS very kindly hosted us for the workshop and Mike Bartley from TVS provided the introduction/provocation (and also acted as scribe).

Embedded-15-02-11-discussionOver about an hour’s discussion we explored the key factors that should be considered when verifying embedded code, from bare metal up to complex systems, from consumer devices to defence hardware, and from discrete components to ‘Internet of Things’ systems. Fortunately we had delegates with expertise in all these areas and several complementary ones. I’m no longer surprised by the breadth and depth of expertise around Bristol and Bath, but I am always amazed at how fast the conversation can move in such environments.

Having covered such an expanse of issues relating to verification (actually more about good practice in embedded software development), I began to steer the discussion towards areas that could be taken forward by the group as SIG actions. This sparked another discussion about impact and the resources available (the perennial ‘bang for your buck’ debate). After a quick compare and contrast between considering market verticals or horizontal enabling technologies/methods, we started to see the Internet of Things as a vertical where there could be some value in further action. Someone in the room described it as ‘a bit of a Wild West at the moment’ with undoubted opportunities, but also some real challenges for developing good embedded software in highly complex, loosely coupled systems.

We’ll be taking this theme forward in the forum discussions and start putting together a working action plan. The next workshop will probably be in May (TBC) where we’ll review activity and set some more deliverables.

If you would like to contribute to the ongoing work that this Special Interest Group will be doing, please get in touch or join HBB here.

If you’d like to be involved in one of our other Special Interest Groups, or you’d like to suggest another Special Interest Group then please also contact me.

Thanks go again to XMOS for their hospitality and room. Thanks also go to Mike for helping to provide the technical structure to the discussion, and to everyone for their participation.