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Welcome to Embedded Systems
Embedded systems are computers that do not look like computers which are "hidden" in everyday electronic devices from mobile phones and hi-fi equipment to cars and planes. These devices, appliances, vehicles and equipment include "embedded" computing, communication and control elements that make them work more effectively. They are often designed for a particular kind of activity that is required to work under some constraints such as: (low) power, real-time operation, memory, processing capacity, dependability, security, etc ...
Embedded systems impact many industrial sectors including automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, communications, medical and manufacturing - these are sectors where European industry remains strong. This is in contrast with the personal computer market which is dominated by a few non-European players. Embedded technologies are the fastest growing sector in IT today - this is still an open field with many opportunities.
Our vision is to realise the emergence of Ambient Intelligence through dependable embedded systems that are interconnected. Linking up embedded systems provides scope for building "collective intelligence" that in turn can achieve new levels of comfort, safety and productivity in all areas, from the individual to industrial environments. This is comparable to the internet which linked up computers; we envisage a similar revolution with embedded systems.
The digitisation and networking of consumer electronic devices, home appliances, entertainment and the convergence of PCs and communications, is already giving rise to a new breed of intelligent consumer electronic devices. Traditional embedded devices such as televisions are undergoing a fundamental transformation. Rather than just performing a single function, they are now becoming all-digital and multifunctional in a way that resembles a computer rather than a TV. For example, future digital TVs will allow you to view all sorts of content such as digital photos or stored movies as well as access the internet or play games.
The mission of the Unit is to be the focal point and integrator for research in embedded systems in Europe. The aim is to strengthen Europe's position in pervasive, networked and dependable embedded systems by integrating and extending the scientific and technological base, promoting innovation and top-quality research, and increasing industrial capabilities.
This will be achieved by
- addressing devices, middleware, software and tools for the design and the development of intelligent sub-systems capable of controlling a broad range of consumer appliances (cameras, mobile phones, DVD recorders, etc.), industrial systems (for manufacturing plants, energy production, automotive, etc.) and infrastructures (such as electricity grids).
- advancing the state of the art in system design methodologies and tools, hardware/software platforms, software building blocks and trusted components, computing architectures and compilers, new networking paradigms and techniques for perception, control and cognition.
Our main research-related activities are structured around three main themes within the Sixth Framework Programme:
- Embedded Systems Design - methodologies and tools
- Co-operating Objects and networked embedded systems - middleware, operating systems/kernels, distributed computing
- Advanced Control for real-time systems
We currently have 40 projects with a total funding of €146 million that cover these areas. This includes eight Integrated Projects, three Networks of Excellence, 23 STREPs (Strategic Targeted Research Projects) and a number of support/co-ordination actions.
In addition, we have been active in setting up the ARTEMIS Technology Platform Embedded Systems Technology Platform as part of the initiatives for the Seventh Framework Programme.