Advantech, Innvo Partner to Strengthen RISC Position

2/12/2003 - Advantech accepted Innvo Systems of Singapore as an Embedded Solution Alliance Partner. Innvo is a provider of turnkey embedded system solutions, offering expertise in java, wireless technologies, and real-time operating systems. Most notably, Innvo Systems was instrumental in working with Advantech to develop the real time embedded Linux system used in our StrongArm PCM-7130 RISC SBC. The PCM-7130 is a full-function embedded solution providing crucial features such as LCD/touchscreen support, a battery interface, GPIO/DIO plus the usual I/O ports such as serial, USB, LAN and CRT.

The term 'realtime' is used several contexts in embedded systems. If a task needs to perform operations with a short and consistent response time to an input, it is normally referred to as a realtime task. Examples of such tasks are input device handling, network stream handling, multimedia video support and the like. In all these cases, tasks must be processed within a predetermined time limit.

Hard and Soft Realtime
In soft realtime tasks, the task deadline can be missed without any serious penalty. For example, in a video game, some frames can be dropped to maintain synchronization without any serious loss of quality. Many tasks involving multimedia input devices fall into this category.

Hard realtime tasks are those in which missing the deadline invokes a serious penalty. An example of this would be a realtime process that fires propulsion systems in sequence in a rocket. If one of the rockets is fired slightly after deadline, the mission ends in disaster. Another example would be the task of inflating an automotive airbag during an auto accident. If that task were to miss its deadline, it could result in serious injury to the passenger.

Industrial controllers are required to work with hard realtime guarantees figured in terms of milliseconds. The PCM-7130 achieves super low latencies through a combination of a realtime Linux OS running on a high-efficiency architecture hardware platform.

Realtime Linux
It is notable that RTLinux provides the best realtime guarantees (in terms of latency) among all available Linux Realtime variants. It has been observed to provide worst case latencies of less than 10 microseconds on 800 MHz Intel Pentium III based systems. Nanosecond Resolution The fundamental principal of RTLinux is to provide a mechanism through the Linux kernel which allows tasks to work with latencies on the order of microseconds. It also allows the tasks to define their period in nanosecond resolution. Linux Kernel Resources Tasks make use of the resources provided by the Linux kernel and are run with hard Realtime guarantees. RTLinux is implemented by running the entire Linux kernel and its subtasks as a low priority thread under a Realtime microkernel called RTLinux.

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