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  • Research Article
  • Open Access

A Rapid Prototyping Tool for Embedded, Real-Time Hierarchical Control Systems

  • 1Email author,
  • 2,
  • 3 and
  • 3
EURASIP Journal on Embedded Systems20082008:162747

  • Received: 24 May 2007
  • Accepted: 17 May 2008
  • Published:


Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation and Engineering Workbench (LabVIEW) is a graphical programming tool based on the dataflow language G. Recently, runtime support for a hard real-time environment has become available for LabVIEW, which makes it an option for embedded systems prototyping. Due to its characteristics, the environment presents itself as an ideal tool for both the design and implementation of embedded software. In this paper, we study the design and implementation of embedded software by using G as the specification language and the LabVIEW RT real-time platform. One of the main advantages of this approach is that the environment leads itself to a very smooth transition from design to implementation, allowing for powerful cosimulation strategies (e.g., hardware in the loop, runtime modeling). We characterize the semantics and formal model of computation of G. We compare it to other models of computation and develop design rules and algorithms to propose sound embedded design in the language. We investigate the specification and mapping of hierarchical control systems in LabVIEW and G. Finally, we describe the development of a state-of-the-art embedded motion control system using LabVIEW as the specification, simulation and implementation tool, using the proposed design principles. The solution is state-of-the-art in terms of flexibility and control performance.


  • Rapid Prototype
  • Programming Tool
  • Embed Software
  • Laboratory Virtual
  • Prototype Tool

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Authors’ Affiliations

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-1770, USA
School of Informatics, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
National Instruments Corp., Austin, TX 78759, USA


© Ram Rajagopal et al. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.