Product Line Technology Recommendations for Integrated Modular Systems
Zoë Stephenson, Mark Nicholson, John McDermid
Presented at International System Safety Conference, San Diego, California, August 2005
Product lines (groups of similar products) have been well-received in organizations that develop products that contain embedded software, yielding improvements to change management and reuse. These techniques, however, only begin to address the wider issues of integrated systems engineering, and certainly do not yet address highly complex configuration and reconfiguration scenarios such as those found in Integrated Modular Systems (IMS).
We believe that there is benefit to be gained by applying the successful disciplines of software product-line engineering to IMS evolution. An IMS is a networked computer systems providing (potentially safety-critical) embedded control and monitoring functions, and as such may eventually use highly complex dynamic reconfiguration techniques. These techniques will evolve and mature over time, and it would be useful to put a support environment into place to deal with configuration throughout the evolution of the technology.
The impact of the different possible configuration and reconfiguration schemes can be assessed by instantiating them as staged product-line configuration processes. Our assessment highlights areas that will be affected as reconfiguration decisions (bindings) are deferred to run-time, resulting in a number of technology recommendations for the implementation of IMSs - in particular, for a simple fire and smoke detection system.