DEAR-COTS: Distributed Embedded Architectures using Commercial Off-The-Shelf Components

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The main purpose of the DEAR-COTS project is the specification of an architecture based on the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, able to support distributed computer controlled systems where safety and timeliness are major requirements.


The DEAR-COTS project will address two main problems:

  1. How to apply the distributed computing technology to the solution of computer controlled problems using commercial off-the-shelf field-buses?
  2. How to support inter-working and interconnection of several "field-bus clusters" and the possibility of remotely access these "clusters interface" for supervision and configuration?

Approach and Methods

A structured approach to the first problem needs to address several non-trivial issues, both at the communication and processing levels, such as: the impact of real-time and dependability requirements on the field-bus architecture, distributed fault-tolerant concurrent applications and the real-time support environment.

In order to solve the second problem, the proposal foresees the use of emerging information technologies to cope with heterogeneity issues while providing a dependable user-friendly man-machine interface. This calls for innovative solutions addressing issues such as replica determinism of WWW servers, the use of object oriented technologies, the downloading/uploading within field-bus clusters and ensuring fault-containment between the field-bus and the "open network" domain. The DEAR-COTS proposed architecture will be validated through the development and test of a prototype, which will be integrated in a semi-industrial environment, with stringent safety and timeliness requirements.

Progress and Results

Significant progress has been made during the first project year, namely by defining a suitable DEAR-COTS architecture. Several results have been published and two project workshops have been made. Cooperation among the several teams involved in the project has been carried out with evident success.


  • Paulo Verissimo, António Casimiro, “The Timely Computing Base”, Missing institution, Tech. Rep., May 1999. Technical Report DI/FCUL TR-99-2, Department of Informatics, University of Lisboa, May 1999


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