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You Don't Need an RTOS

Nathan J

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Once your embedded application needs to multitask, an RTOS seems like an obvious choice. But employing that kind of preemptive scheduler opens up the door for a deadly class of bugs called "race conditions" that would be better off left alone. (Humans, as it turns out, are actually really bad at reasoning about things that operate in parallel.) Instead, the humble "superloop", with a few modifications, can be very nearly as responsive as an RTOS with none of the concerns over race conditions!

In this talk, we’ll discuss the how to evaluate what levels of responsiveness you need from a scheduler and then I’ll demonstrate several variations of "superloops" that might meet those requirements, all without the complexity or opportunities for race conditions that might come with a more heavyweight scheduler like an RTOS.

About the speaker

Nathan Jones is an active-duty Army officer and Assistant Professor at West Point Military Academy. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College and his master’s degree in Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University. One of Nathan’s favorite things is making neat electronic devices and then teaching people how to do the same.