DARIO: Distributed Agency for Reliable Input/Output

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Embedded and distributed computer systems play nowadays a vital role in control applications as diverse as industrial processes, automotive, railways, avionics and aerospace, medical, etc. In this context, the relevance of standard communication networks such as fieldbus cannot be ignored.

In the scope of the DARIO project, we plan to use the Controller Area Network (CAN) fieldbus as a communication infrastructure to build a distributed agency for reliable input/output operations.

To meet the required high-levels of reliability, the native CAN communication infrastructure needs to be complemented with a set of hardware/software additional mechanisms. The combination of a standard CAN layer with such dependability enhancement mechanisms, has been dubbed CAN Enhanced Layer (CANELy).

The services provided by CANELy (group communication, clock synchronization, node failure detection and membership) are of fundamental importance to the availability of mechanisms handling object replication, competition and cooperation management, useful constructs for fault-tolerant applications.

Naturally, the DARIO architecture also involves a need for a modular and generic approach to: the integration of physical input/output components; input/output event translation to/from a computational entity; uniform treatment of input/output events and message events information flows; provision of fault-tolerance and real-time guarantees.A modular approach should also be followed in the mapping and/or adaptation of the generic architecture to specific technologies, thus limiting the overall impact of technological aspects on system design.

On the other hand, the programmers of distributed control applications require constructs hiding as much as possible the implementation details of the underlying infrastructure (object-orientation).

Other aspect of application design concerns the possible partition and deployment of application components at several levels of the architecture (e.g. smart sensors configuration, resident robotics applications). A solution to any of these problems in embedded environments, sometimes with scarce resources, do represent a set of real challenges that will be addressed in the context of the DARIO project.


The aim of the DARIO project is the definition and design of a distributed agency for reliable input/output operations using the Controller Area Network (CAN) fieldbus as a communication infrastructure. To achieve this aim the project will:

  • Provide the definition and design of a highly dependable real-time communication fieldbus bus infrastructure based on the Controller Area Network (CAN), the CAN Enhanced Layer.
  • Address specific middleware issues concerning event-based protocols featuring fusion of events from/to objects and from/to the real world (sensors/actuators).
  • Provide a proof of concept through a prototype of the generic-events middleware integrated with the CANELy communication infrastructure.

Approach and Methods

The project is organized in the following workpackages: project management; dependable real-time communication infrastructure; definition and design of CAN-oriented midleware services; definition and design of input/output agency services; prototyping of the architectural modules.


  • José Rufino, Paulo Verissimo, Guilherme Arroz, Carlos Almeida, “Control of Inaccessibility in CANELy”, in Proceedings of the 6th IEEE International Workshop on Factory Communication Systems (WFCS06), Torino, Italy, June, 2006., Jun. 2006.

  • Manuel Coutinho, José Rufino, Carlos Almeida, “VITRAL: A text mode windows manager for RTEMS”, in Actas das Terceiras Jornadas de Engenharia de Electrónica e Telecomunicações e de Computadores (JETC05), Novembro 2005., Nov. 2005.

  • Manuel Coutinho, José Rufino, Carlos Almeida, “Control of event handling timeliness in RTEMS”, in Proceedings of the 17th IASTED International Conference on Parallel and Distributed Computing Systems (PDCS 2005), Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 2005., Nov. 2005.

  • José Rufino, Paulo Verissimo, Guilherme Arroz, “Node Failure Detection and Membership in CANELy”, in Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN03). San Francisco, California, USA, June 2003., Jun. 2003.

  • José Rufino, Paulo Verissimo, Guilherme Arroz, “Design of Bus Media Redundancy in CAN”, in Fieldbus Technology - Systems Integration, Networking, and Engineering. Proceedings of International Symposium on Fieldbus Systems and their Applications (FeT-99). Magdeburg, Germany, September 1999. Dietrich, D.; Neumann, P.; Schweinzer, H. (Eds.)., Sept. 1999.

  • José Rufino, Paulo Verissimo, Guilherme Arroz, “A Columbus' Egg Ideia for CAN Media Redundancy”, in Digest of Papers of the 29th IEEE International Symposium on Fault-Tolerant Computing (FTCS-29), Madison, Wisconsin, USA, June 1999., Jun. 1999.

  • José Rufino, Nuno Pedrosa, José Monteiro, Paulo Verissimo, Guilherme Arroz, “Hardware support for CAN fault-tolerant communication”, in Proceedings of the 5th IEEE International Conference on Electronics, Circuits and Systems, Lisboa, Portugal, September 1998, Sept. 1998.

  • José Rufino, Paulo Verissimo, Guilherme Arroz, Carlos Almeida, Luís Rodrigues, “Fault-Tolerant Broadcasts in CAN”, in Digest of Papers, The 28th IEEE International Symposium on Fault-Tolerant Computing. Munich, Germany, June, 1998., Jun. 1998.


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