Predictability is an important system requirement in all sectors of embedded systems, whose operation should not fail for different reasons. An obvious sector is that of safety-critical systems, which arise in transportation, power automation, medical systems, and related areas. The market for safety-critical embedded systems is large and steadily increasing. According to a study by the international ARC Advisory Group with headquarters based in Dedham, Massachusetts, the safety systems and critical control system market, which was around $650 million in 2003, will grow at an average annual rate of over 7 percent per year to over $900 million in 2008. ARC’s Safety and Critical Control System Worldwide Outlook Market Analysis and Forecast Through 2008 predicts a healthy growth of the safety system market for process industries over the next five years.
The industry developing safety-critical embedded systems is severely suffering from design practices leading to unpredictable system behaviour. The determination of guarantees for non-functional requirements is postponed to a late design stage, and then often fails because of design decisions taken earlier. Establishing a methodology reconciling predictability and efficiency will have a very strong impact on systems-design and implementation practice in industry.
Predictability is important also in other sectors, where systems failure may lead to economic consequences, as in consumer electronics, telecom, etc.