Guest Editors
Alan Burns - University of York
Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli - UC Berkeley
Embedded systems applications now include a very large proportion of the advanced products designed in the world, spanning transport (avionics, space, automotive, trains), electrical and electronic appliances (cameras, toys, television, washers, dryers, audio systems, and cellular phones), process control (energy production and distribution, factory automation and optimization), telecommunications (satellites, mobile phones and telecom networks), and security (e-commerce, smart cards), etc.. The relative weight of software in the value of embedded systems is constantly expanding. The extensive and increasing use of embedded systems and their integration in everyday products marks a significant evolution in information science and technology.

There is now a strategic shift in emphasis for embedded systems designers: from simply achieving feasibility, to achieving optimality. Optimal design of embedded systems means targeting a given market segment at the lowest cost and delivery time possible. Optimality means seamless integration with the physical and electronic environment while respecting real-world constraints such as hard deadlines, reliability, availability, robustness, power consumption, and cost. In our view, optimality can only be achieved through the emergence of embedded systems as a discipline in its own right.

An important factor for the emergence of embedded systems as a discipline is the existence of integrated curricula for training engineers and researchers, able to tackle a range of topics which until now had been spread across many different areas, including: general computer science and engineering, real-time computing, systems architecture, control and signal processing, security and privacy, networking, mathematics, electronics.

This special issue of the ACM Transactions in Embedded Computing Systems aims to provide the basis for integrated undergraduate and graduate curricula covering the essential areas of knowledge for tomorrow’s embedded systems engineers and researchers.

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