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Real-time Java &

Jihua Zhong Marc E Loy Maung Han

Asynchronous Transfer of Control

Seminor in Real-time Systems Instructor: Professor Insup Lee

Different Flavours of Java

(Java Family) ROM Size Java (J2SE, J2EE) 4 MB Personal Java (J2ME) <2 MB Embedded Java < 512 KB

RAM Size

2 4 MB

512 KB 1 MB 32 Bit, 32 Bit, 100 MHz+ 50 MHz+

< 512 MB
16/32 Bit, 25 MHz+

Real-time Java
(A brief intro)

What is Real-time Java (RTJ)?

Standard Java is not enough to handle realtime constraints. Java (and JVM) lacks semantic for standard real-time programming techniques. Embedded Java Specification was there, but merely a subset of standard Java API. There is a gap for a language real-time capable and equipped with all Javas powerful advantages.

Real-time Spec. for Java (RTSJ)

IBM, Sun and other partners formed Real-time for Java Expert Group sponsored by NIST in 1998. It came up with RTSJ to fill this gap for real-time systems. RTSJ proposed seven areas of enhancements to the standard Java.

RTSJ 7 Areas of Enhancement

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Thread scheduling and dispatching. Memory management. Synchronization and Resource sharing. Asynchronous Event Handling. Asynchronous Transfer of Control. Asynchronous Thread Termination. Physical Memory Access.

RTSJ Implementations
RTSJ is still under evaluation. Sun has no practical implementation. Some implementations by others: - VisualAge by IBM - Simple RTJ by RTJ Computing Theres another spec by J-consortium backed by Microsoft, HP. Other just sit on the fence.


Asynchronous event handling and transfer of control in execution. Not all real-life events are predictable in time and frequency. Ability of real-time systems to react to them correctly requires reliable asynchrony techniques.

Asynchrony (contd.)
Conventional ways of achieving it in Java is by interrupts and exceptions. They are deadlock prone. Can cause data structure corruption.

Asynchrony (contd.)
Leaving exiting techniques intact for conventional codes, RTSJ offers two extended approaches for real-time threads1. Asynchronous Events (AEv). 2. Asynchronously Interrupted Exceptions (AIE).

I. Asynchronous Events
Some internal or external event that happens. System need to respond to the changing environment. Not known in advance about time or frequency.

Class Hierarchy
Object AsyncEvent
AsyncEventHandler behave like Thread. It has run() method. BoundAsynchronousHandler can be used for added timeliness by binding each handler to a dedicated thread.

Runnable (I) Schedulable (I)



Asynchronous Event (contd.)



Handler A

Handler B

One event can be handled by more than one handler.

One handler can handle more than one event.

Many to many relationship.

AsyncEvent (how it works)



Real world event

Handler implements Schedulable and Runnable interfaces.

abstract class AsyncEventHandler:

run() // final
handleAsyncEvent() getAndDecrementPendingFireCount()

A Handler can choose to process its fire-counts individually or collectively.

Sample code for AsyncEvent handling

public static void main(String args){ AsyncEventHandler hdlrA = new AsyncEventHandler(){ public void handleAsyncEvent(){ do{ System.out.print(Handler A executed.); } while(getAndDecrementPendingFireCount()>0); } }

AsyncEvent Sample Code

AsyncEvent event1 = new AsyncEvent();
event1.addHandler(hdlrA); System.out.println(AsyncEvent Test.\n); event1.fire(); System.out.println(Event fired.\n); } // main()

Use of AEv Handling

In real-time systems, there can be hundreds (or even thousands) of possible events. But usually, only few happens at one time. Impractical to create and assign one thread for each possible event. AEv Handling offers low cost alternative to threads. Not like methods, AEv handlers can be scheduled and executed asynchronously.

II. ATC (Asynchronous Transfer of Control)

Some change in the system environment needs immediate attention. Abandon current execution or take appropriate action.

AIE (AsynchronouslyInterruptedException)

Interruptible (I) InterruptedException

Parameter for AIE.doInterruptible()


AIE (contd.)
In RT Java, ATC is achieved by throwing a special exception AIE. RT threads and methods can choose to receive (or not to) AIE by including it in throws clause. e.g. void run() throws asynchronouslyInterruptedException {} Existing Non-RT implementations are not affected.

AIE (contd.)
AIE can be thrown to cut short a threads execution and take appropriate action. It can be thrown explicitly by firing in program codes, or implicitly by interrupting a real-time thread. e.g. aie.fire() or thread.interrupt() If AIE is fired in a methods it did not declare AIE in throws clause, AIE is put to pending state until control reaches AIE-enabled method.

Some rules on AIE

Only one AIE can become active at any one time, no nested AIEs. If newly generated AIE is less in depth than the pending AIE, it is replaced by new one. If newly generated AIE is deeper in depth, it is discarded.

How AIE works

AIE method (catch)
Non-AIE method AIE method AIE caught and cleared AIE fired

Deferred until AIE method

AIE Handler should invoke the AIE.happened() method to clear it. Otherwise, it will continue to propagate outward.

When AIE is deferred

In AIE methods, it is deferred if control is in synchronized block. In non-AIE methods, deferred until control reaches in AIE method. If both AIE and other exceptions occurred when control enters AIE method, AIE overrides others.

When AIEs overlap

Another AIE can get generated while one is in execution. If AIE of outer block is fired, execution stops and control transfers to outer block.

Asynchronous Thread Termination

AEv and AIE in RTJ provides ways to manage execution loci in real-time systems asynchronously. Using these two together can achieve asynchronous termination of threads.

Sample Implementation
Single Elevator Control system. Separate classes for:

Carriage (floor pos, door open?, moving?) MotorControl (up, down) PanelControl (buttons pressed,next dest)

Elevator (contd.)

A floor select button is pressed. Elevator request button is pressed. Fire alarm sounded. Hazard (fire, blackout, etc.).


AsyncEvent classes
class ButtonEvent extends AsyncEvent{ public ButtonEvent(String bindstring){ bindTo(bindstring); } } class FireAlarm extends AsyncEvent{ public FireAlarm(){ super(); bindTo("FireSignal"); } }

Event Handlers (inner classes)

class ReqBtnHandler extends AsyncEventHandler{ Code int flr; ReqBtnHandler(int f){flr=f;} public void handleAsyncEvent(){floorReq[flr]=true;} } class SelBtnHandler extends AsyncEventHandler{ int flr; SelBtnHandler(int f){flr=f;} public void handleAsyncEvent(){floorSel[flr]=true;} }

Hazard Handler (in Carriage class)

class HzHandler extends AsyncEventHandler{ Code public void handleAsyncEvent(){ aie.fire(); // fire AIE to interrupt control thread // open the door if (curFloor==0 && !moving) openDoor(); } }

Linking Events to Handlers

// in PanelControl class ButtonEvent sb0=new ButtonEvent("selbutton0"); // 1,2, Code ButtonEvent rb0=new ButtonEvent("reqbutton0"); // 1,2, sb0.addHandler(new SelBtnHandler(0)); // 1,2, rb0.addHandler(new ReqBtnHandler(0)); // 1,2, // in Carriage class HzHandler hh=new HzHandler(); Code e.addHandler(hh); // fire alarm is stored in attribute e of Carriage. // similarly in PanelControl, share the same event. Need to link every single event and handler, cannot differentiate between different events of the same class. Better if we can pass instance specific data along with event. But RTSJ does not allow that.

AIE exception
class HazardAie extends synchronouslyInterruptedException{ public HazardAie(){super();} } HazardAie myAie= new HazardAie(); Carriage car=new Carriage(fa,myAie); Somebody has to fire it. So pass to Carriage that receive the fire event

AIE handling
public class MotorControl implements Interruptible{ . // action when AIE is fired. public void interruptAction(AsynchronouslyInterruptedException e){ if (carriage.getFloor()>0){ carriage.closeDoor(); godown(); } }

MotorControl (contd.)
// action when interruptible code is run public void run(AsynchronouslyInterruptedException e){ while(true){ try{myrun(e);} catch(AsynchronouslyInterruptedException e1){} }// while } void myrun(AsynchronouslyInterruptedException e) throws AsynchronouslyInterruptedException { // normal control sequence }

Main body of program

public class ElevatorSim { public static void main(java.lang.String[] args) { FireAlarm fa = new FireAlarm(); // create fire alarm event HazardAie myAie = new HazardAie(); Carriage car = new Carriage(fa,myAie); PanelControl pc = new PanelControl(5,fa); MotorControl mc = new MotorControl(car, pc, 4, 0);
myAie.doInterruptible(mc); // run interruptible code }

Memory Management

To allow memory areas of different behavior to be accessed by real-time tasks. Specify memory consumption behavior of RT tasks. RT tasks can enter and exit memory areas and allocate objects as needed.

Memory Class Types


Heap Memory (normal Java Heap) Scoped Memory (limited lifetime.) Immortal Memory (app lifetime) ImmortalPhysicalMemory (app lifetime, physical)

PhysicalMemoryFactory (Supply physical mem to other mem objects, e.g. DMA, Byte swapping) RawMemoryAccess (Drivers, Memory mapped I/O)

Memory Class Hierarchy

Object MemoryArea HeapMemory ScopedMemory ImmortalMemory VTMemory LTMemory ScopedPhysicalMemory


PhysicalMemoryFactory RawMemoryAcess RawMemoryFloatAcess

Scoped Memory Rules

Reference to an object in ScopeMemory;

Can never be stored in an object in Java Heap. Can never be stored in an object in ImmortalMemory. Can be stored in an object in the same scope or inner scope memory.

An object in Immortal or Heap may store references in ScopeMemory.

ScopeMemory activation
An area of ScopeMemory can become active for a thread by;

Calling enter() method of ScopeMemory object. Creating instances of objects in ScopeMemory.

ScopeMemory areas can be activated in nested manner. Objects in an inner scope can refer to outer scopes, but not the other way.

Java is trying to become real-time capable. Most systems today are either non real-time or implement only a subset of RTSJ. We expect to see more complete and robust implementations soon with increasingly popular embedded and real-time systems.