CS4220/6235 - Embedded Systems and Real-Time Systems

Fall 2010

Location: CCB 17
Time: Tu/Th 12:05 – 1:25pm


Instructor: Calton Pu (calton@cc.gatech.edu)
Office: 3334 KACB
Office hrs.: by appointment.

Head TA: Qinyi Wu (qxw@cc)
Office hrs.: HOURS or by appointment.

Second TA: TBD

This is a preliminary page. For detailed information on the last offering, see the Fall 2009 course unofficial web page. The course information in managed by T-Squre.

Course Description

CS4220 (Embedded Systems) and CS6235 (Real-Time Systems) are co-listed this term.  This course covers the principles of real-time and embedded systems inherent in many hardware platforms and applications being developed for engineering and science as well as for ubiquitous systems, including robotics and manufacturing, interactive and multimedia, immersive and omnipresent applications. As part of this course, students will learn about real-time and quality of service system principles, understand real-time operating systems and the resource management and quality of service issues that arise, and construct sample applications on representative platforms. Platforms range from handheld and mobile computers to media and real-time server systems. Platforms may also include specialized systems used in application-specific contexts, such as autonomous robotics, smart sensors, and others.


All students must submit written abstracts for at least 75% of the papers studied in class, before each paper's presentation. These abstracts must summarize the main points of the paper. Abstracts should not be simple cut and paste from the papers -- they should display some understanding of the material and criticism of the work (both pros and cons). Only one abstract is due for each class, and unless indicated, students may choose which paper to summarize. Each abstract will be graded by 0 (not submitted), 1 (average), and 2 (good).  Abstracts should be submitted through T-Square.


The paper links are hosted on T-Square.

  • Please include your GT student ID and your name in the file
  • Please send your commentaries in plain TXT format

Grading Policy

Sample abstracts from another class
(use user_id cs4803 and password carmen)

Sample Standard Project Reports

·  Benchmarking Real-Time Linux Alternatives

·  A Performance Study of Real-Time Operation System using RTLinux


Class projects will use a suitable platform of student’s choice.

Sample applications available to students include multimedia codes (video and audio), distributed games, sensor processing codes, image processing codes, location identification (if there is class interest) and possibly, distributed virtual environments (again, given class interest).

  • Project Proposal due: Friday, Sept 17, 2010.


Final Deliverables

The deadline is the Friday of the last week of classes (12/10).

The deliverables of the project consists of all material on the project for which you want to get credit. This typically consists of code written by the team, presentation materials, a final report, and supporting material. The supporting material may contain very useful information such as design documents (for well organized teams) and user instructions (for polished projects) to run a demo. In addition, if you have used some unusual platform, supporting material should include some information that helps me understand the project better, for instance, a description of a custom board or a specific (not generally available) virtual machine monitor. The report is the "root" of the deliverables tree. Instead of reading through the entire code, for instance, I will read the report first to understand what you are doing, and then browse through the materials to appreciate your work. The supporting material may be separate files or appendices to the report. The deliverables should be uploaded to T-Square (limit of 20MB). Larger size deliverables should be uploadable from a web site, or they may be sent through physical media (e.g., CD or DVD).


Course Outline

Weeks 1 - 2: Basic Concepts and Research Techniques

  • Tuesday, Aug 24 [Lecture slides]
    1. Introduction to course real-time systems and concepts. (no commentary assignment)
  • Thursday, Sept 2 (big projects/ideas) [Lecture slides]
    1. Cyber Physical Systems.

The plan below has not been updated for Fall 2010.


Weeks 3 - 5: QoS and Feedback

  • Thursday, Sept 17.  

Week 6: Scheduling Algorithms

Week 7: Specialization

Week 8:

Week 9:

  • Tuesday, Oct 14
    1. Fall recess

Week 10: Security

Week 11:

Week 12:

Week 13:

  • Thursday, November 13 (Code-generation using the Mulini code generator), Guest lecture by Gueyoung Jung
    • If you have already submitted a summary of what was assigned previously to this day (Ch 6), you don't have to submit a summary for this updated paper.

2.    "Towards Automated Deployment of Built-to-Order Systems." Sahai, Akhil, Calton Pu, Gueyoung Jung, Qinyi Wu, Wenchang Yan, and Galen S. Swint. Proceedings of the 16th IFIP/IEEE Distributed Systems; Operation and Management (DSOM 2005). October 24-26, 2005. Barcelona, Spain.


This class is taught every year, by combining the 4220 and 6235 course numbers.  It is suitable for both CoC and non-CoC majors, in part because grades are based on project work, which is defined jointly by the instructor and students. The intent is to ensure some basic skills on the part of each student and also to match both student interests/background and course objectives.


Each student (or team) will present one course topic in class and also complete the class projects. Maximum team size is 3 students. In addition, as part of class homework, all students must submit written commentaries for at least 50% of the papers studied in class, before each paper's presentation. These commentaries should consist of three paragraphs (not too long, since quality is more important than quantity). The first paragraph should summarize the main ideas and the strong points of the paper.  The second paragraph should outline the limitations or weaknesses of the paper.  The third paragraph contains your own comments. Each commentary will be graded by 0 (not submitted), 1 (average), and 2 (good).

  1. 60% Project
  2. 20% Commentaries/Class Participation
  3. 20% Student Presentations

Useful Links:

Real-time Systems Reading List
Boston University: CS835 Reading List
Computer Science Research Paper Search Engine
Real-Time Resources
Ubiquitous Computing Links
Postscript(R) to PDF Converter