CPSC 663 -- Real-Time Systems (Fall 2016)

CPSC 663 -- Real-Time Systems (Fall 2016)

Section 663-600:

TR 9:35-10:50am
HRBB 126


Riccardo Bettati
509C Harvey R. Bright Bldg
Office hours:
TR 11:00am-12:00pm
or by appointment
bettati tamu

Slides | Video | Tests | Homeworks | Reading Assignment | Projects


This term we will be using Piazza for class discussion. The system is highly catered to getting you help fast and efficiently from classmates and myself. If you have questions, consider posting them on Piazza. This will give everybody a chance to contribute.

Find our class page at: piazza.com/tamu/fall2016/csce663/home.

The signup link is: piazza.com/tamu/fall2016/csce663.

Course Overview

Cyber-physical systems are all the rage. The advent of computation-enabled physical devices in consumer products, together with the increased use of commercial off-the-shelf technology in embedded systems have raised the general awareness for real-time issues. From being traditionally confined to industrial of embedded and/or control systems, where timing constraints have played an important role for a long time, real-time issues now are prevalent in consumer products, medical devices, automotive systems, and others. In accordance to these developments, we have seen real-time capabilities increasingly becoming an important part of general-purpose computing equipment.

This course is designed to provide the student with the theoretical foundations for the design and synthesis of real-time systems and applications; it also presents criteria used to evaluate and validate such systems. Throughout the course we will be reminded that computing elements in cyber-physical systems interact very closely with their physical environment. We will discuss how to model such systems and their interaction. We will also discuss security aspects that are particular to cyber-physical systems.

Reading material will expose the student to a small fraction of the classical literature in this area and to recent developments. This course is introductory in nature, and will not have a strong research component to it.


I will assume that you have a background in operating systems and networks, and a good notion of algorithms. We will be talking about control as well, but no prior knowledge in this area is expected other than basic math.

Material Covered in Course

Real-time computing means computing so that things get done in time. We will therefore devote much time to how to get things done in time (scheduling) and how to validate whether things will be done in time (schedulability analysis). We will then study how operating systems must be designed to support real-time computing, and how some of them are not. Finally, we will devote some time on real-time communication, and how to get it to work in terms of scheduling, architectures, and protocols.

Sometimes it is not possible to get everything to complete in time all the time. Nevertheless, you would like to give guarantees about how often you can get things done in time (probabilistic or statistical guarantees). We will study how to formulate such guarantees, and how to analyze systems whether they meet such guarantees.

We will also discuss how to represent the physical environment in which the real-time computing system operate and how to model the interaction of computation and the environment in the cyber-physical system.

In the second part of the course we will discuss application domains where real-time capabilities are critical, such as cyber-physical systems and Internet of Things.

Required Reading

The material covered in the first part of the course follows very closely the textbook Hard Real-Time Computing Systems by Giorgio Buttazzo. Access to it is highly recommended. (Hard copies and soft copies are available through the TAMU library.)

We will be reading additional papers in the area of cyber-physical systems. Stay tuned for details.


We will have two tests. These tests will be open-book.

A midterm exam will be held on Thursday, October 13, in class. The final exam will be held on Friday, December 9, from 12:20pm to 2:30pm.

Reading Assignment

By mid-semester, you will be asked to select a small number of papers from recent proceedings of the IEEE Real-Time Systems Symposium, the IEEE Real-Time Technology and Applications Symposium, the IEEE/ACM International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems, the IEEE Internet of Things Journal, or the IEEE World Forum on Internet of Things. You will be asked to write a critical review of your selected papers. Details about this assignment are posted here.


An important part of this class will be a term project.

Students will have the chance to pick from either one of two types of projects:

Assessment Method

Ideally, grades will be assigned along the following lines:
Last modified: August 2016