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[DPRG] PIC Microcontrollers Get First Commercial RTOS Support

Subject: [DPRG] PIC Microcontrollers Get First Commercial RTOS Support
From: Robert Posey robert.posey at worldnet.att.net
Date: Tue Sep 26 06:33:39 CDT 2000

Press Release
Microchip Technology's PICmicro Microcontrollers Get First Commercial RTOS
Realogy's Real-Time Architect Development Environment Helps Microchip's
PIC18CXXX MCUs Target Deeply Embedded Applications with Minimum Footprint
OSEK-enabled Run-time Kernel
YORK, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 26, 2000-- Realogy's innovative
real-time scheduling technology has achieved another major gain for
designers of resource constrained deeply embedded systems.

Microchip Technology (NASDAQ: MCHP - news), No. 2 in the market for 8-bit
microcontrollers(a), is working with Realogy to provide a unique level of
development system support to their user base.

For the first time, a standard commercial RTOS and development environment,
Real-Time Architect, is available for Microchip's world-class PICmicro®
family of 8-bit microcontroller devices.

Supporting the new PIC18CXXX architecture, Real-Time Architect offers a
full-function pre-emptive kernel (SSX5) and associated development tools to
provide the PICmicro developer with a class leading multi-tasking

Until now, no standard RTOS could offer the small footprint and high
functionality necessary to provide a viable solution for designers of deeply
embedded systems using Microchip devices. This situation has changed with
the availability of Realogy's SSX5 run-time kernel.

SSX5 has the smallest memory footprint -- as little as 1.6 Kbytes ROM and
300 bytes RAM in typical applications -- and offers extensive capabilities
including fully pre-emptive scheduling and real-time analysis and
optimization, plus a range of optional application-specific development
tools such as industry-standard OSEK support for embedded automotive design

The low memory overheads of SSX5 are achieved by the use of a novel
real-time tasking model called ``single-shot execution,'' developed
originally for high volume, deeply embedded applications in the automotive
industry. This approach enables a ``single stack'' implementation of
applications which greatly reduces the use of scarce on-chip RAM.

Unlike a conventional RTOS, where the per-task RAM usage can be anywhere
between 300 bytes and 10Kbytes (mainly due to the ``stack per task''
approach), the RAM required by SSX5 for each additional task is in the order
of a few bytes.

Real-Time Architect provides a comprehensive suite of timing analysis and
optimization tools based around the Time Compiler. Until now, developers
have had to rely on testing to verify the correct timing behavior of their

In the high volume, deeply embedded applications targeted by the Microchip
PIC18CXXX family, this approach is statistically unlikely to uncover all the
subtle race conditions and task interactions that can cause timing failures.

The Time Compiler ensures that the application is fully analyzed and
optimized in terms of timing behavior. It establishes the relationships
between the worst-case response times of tasks and interrupt service
routines, and their deadlines.

Not only does it determine whether or not a system is schedulable, it also
indicates the margin by which a deadline is met or missed so that timing
behavior can be fine tuned systematically rather than by trial and error.

Using Real-Time Architect, software developers can now design the required
timing behavior into their applications right from the start, and verify
that performance before deployment. This not only delivers product
reliability in terms of timing behavior but also enables reduced production

The Time Compiler will optimize the timing of tasks within the application
to ensure best possible use of processor resources. This improved use of
scarce system resources may be leveraged in a number of ways. The most
obvious is in the selection of the target system device, where optimum
memory use allows obvious cost savings.

Alternatively the designer could maximize the functionality of the
application software while maintaining schedulability, thus implementing
``extra'' functionality in the product.

Particularly interesting to developers of mobile products is the use of
Real-Time Architect to establish the lowest processor clock speed which
supports a schedulable system -- enabling extended battery life.

Realogy has a proven track record in the automotive industry, which is one
of the target markets for Real-Time Architect and the PIC18CXXX family.
Following the recent revisions to the OSEK OS industry standard for
automotive applications, Real-Time Architect supports the latest version 2.1
of the specification.

Two OSEK specific components are provided as part of Real-Time Architect: an
OSEK Implementation Language (OIL) configuration tool and a C source code
library that implements the OSEK API.

``Microchip's PIC18CXXX microcontroller range has found the perfect partner
in Real-Time Architect,'' said Sumit Mitra, vice president of systems,
Microchip Technology Inc. ``Developers look to Microchip to provide the most
cost-effective 8-bit solution to their deeply embedded applications. They
expect to get the maximum capability from the minimum silicon budget.

``By working with Realogy, we can now extend this concept to total system
cost -- both hardware and software. The tiny code footprint and
cycle-optimizing scheduler of SSX5 provide the ideal complement for the
resource-efficient PIC18CXXX architecture.''

``Our partnership with Microchip for the PIC18CXXX opens the door to a range
of exciting opportunities,'' said Charlie Edgington, chief executive officer
of Realogy. ``Both organizations focus upon meeting the needs of developers
of cost sensitive, deeply embedded applications. Because we share this
common root our products are complementary and synergistic.''

Notes for the Editor

Real-Time Architect

Launched in January of this year, Real-Time Architect is the new development
and deployment solution for real-time system development from Realogy. Based
on recently developed real-time scheduling technology, it is designed
specifically to meet the requirements of developers using
resource-constrained deeply embedded target hardware such as in automotive

The Time Compiler component of Real-Time Architect is based on new
extensions to Deadline Monotonic Analysis, a branch of real-time
schedulability analysis. The Time Compiler uses this mathematical technique
to calculate the worst-case response time (measured from the occurrence of
an event to a response being completed) for each task and interrupt service
routine in the system.

This analysis shows if all user defined deadlines allocated to an
application will be met in all circumstances. The Time Compiler takes
account of all possible scenarios, including interference from higher
priority tasks/interrupt handlers and blocking effects due to resources
shared with low priority tasks. The Time Compiler also takes full account of
operating system overheads.

During development of real-time systems, it is essential that the system's
timing requirements are addressed early in the development process. However,
there are very few useful tools able to assist in this process. Often,
systems are designed and built to meet their functional requirements with
timing requirements taking second place until late in the project lifecycle.

Unfortunately this can lead to systems which are found to miss deadlines or
have subtle timing bugs during testing, or even worse, after deployment. At
this stage in the cycle, taking corrective action can be very expensive.

With the Time Compiler, this need no longer be the case. A representative
model of the timing behavior for the tasks and interrupts can be produced,
along with bounds on execution times. This model allows the system designer
to determine if the system is feasible, that is if all the deadlines can be
met given the assumptions made.

The Time Compiler provides the designer with powerful priority allocation
facilities that aid in producing the most efficient system possible. The
Time Compiler also determines the optimum priority allocation for tasks to
meet deadlines with the minimum of run-time resource usage.

The Time Compiler's sensitivity analysis facilities help the system designer
to make the minimum changes needed to achieve a system that is schedulable.
This facility can highlight particular interrupt handlers, tasks or resource
sharing which are causing the system to be unschedulable.

It allows optimization effort to be directed where it will produce the
desired effect, reducing the impact on maintainability.

Company Profiles

Microchip Technology Inc. manufactures the widely popular PICmicro® RISC
microcontrollers which serve 8- and 16-bit embedded control applications.

Specializing in field-programmable and mixed-signal solutions, the company
also offers complementary microperipheral products including stand-alone
analog, interface and microID(TM) RFID devices; serial EEPROMs; and the
patented KEELOQ® security devices.

This synergistic product portfolio targets thousands of applications and a
growing demand for high-performance designs in the automotive,
communications, computing, consumer and industrial control markets. The
company's quality systems are ISO 9001 (1994 version) and QS9000 (1998
version) certified.

Microchip is headquartered near Phoenix in Chandler, Ariz., with
semiconductor fabrication facilities in Arizona and Washington; and assembly
and test operations near Bangkok, Thailand. Microchip employs approximately
2,900 people worldwide and has sales offices throughout Asia, Europe, Japan
and the Americas. More information on the company can be found at

Note: The Microchip name and logo, PIC, PICmicro and KEELOQ are registered
trademarks of Microchip Technology Inc. in the United States and other
countries. microID is a trademark of Microchip Technology Inc. in the United
States and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their
respective owners.

(a) According to Dataquest, based on worldwide unit shipments.

     Web site: www.realogy.com

Now PICs, with a RTOS.  No more roll your own multi-tasking.


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