Browse Publications Technical Papers 2002-01-0872
2002-03-04

The Embedded Cake: A Layers Model of Embedded Systems 2002-01-0872

Embedded systems cover a wide variety of devices and applications. Seemingly, each embedded system is different from other embedded systems. After all, the system controlling a microwave oven has virtually nothing in common with the system in a calculator, an airplane flight controller, or a car's engine controller.
However, is there a way to look at embedded systems from a generic viewpoint? Put another way, are there parts of all embedded systems that are common whatever the purpose or function of the individual devices? What exactly do the microwave oven controller and a vehicle's engine controller have in common?
The design of a “layers-type” model representing embedded systems development arose from asking just such questions. Starting with the background of the OSI Network Model, where all functions of network communications fit within one of seven layers, we began to ask if a similar structure could serve to describe embedded systems.

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