VxWorks in Education: University of São Paulo, Brazil – Part 3

By Bill Graham

Graham_lg In the third and final part of my interview with Professor Glauco Caurin we discuss multicore and virtualization and why they are working with us on their research projects.

Q: Are your students learning about multi-core processors  and programming? What about multi-OS systems including virtualization, i.e.  systems that have more than one OS on a single processor?

We are not teaching our students yet about the programming of multicore processors. But we have experience in the past with multiprocessing systems programming using X-METH.

It is in my medium-to-long term plan to insert multicore programming into our courses. It also depends on the time we take to have enough students that are skilled with the "basics".

Q: Are you  starting to use or design with multicore processors in your projects? Do you  think multicore and multi-OS systems are an important part of the  curriculum?

Regarding virtualization, we did some initial tests (not in real time) using virtualization and different OS for Human Machine Interaction. I am really impressed with this possibilities,

 I am really interessted in the future applications of this promising technology.

Q: Prof. Caurin, why do you choose Wind River as a partner in your courses and projects? What are some of the characteristics you were looking for in our software?

As I described, we have been working with RTOS since the 90’s especially with systems that were proposed in academic context at ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) like XMETH, XOberon, JBed and so on. We have also developed our own open source version of a Linux patch for Real Time applications here in Brazil. But my concern with the students and the research projects were related to their continuity [of software, OS, tools]. How is it possible to convince a new student to use a specific IDE? And further how could we take advantage of the work done previously. 

Every problem detected was solved with a new RTOS version [in-house developed]. Not rarely, the new version had commands and characteristics that were incompatible with the previous versions. Additionally, each new PhD student wanted to test a different open source RTOS, or even worse, some were suggesting they could make a better OS. 

As a consequence we were always starting from zero with every new robot project. 

Good results were achieved using Wind River Products and Tools, so we decided to focus on this software, and since then all the classes, students and researchers are invited to use them as a standard. We increase the information exchange between the students and our productivity. The availability of manuals and documentation was a strong point in our decision. I believe now we are able to propose and conduct a larger number of research projects in parallel.

Q: Do you plan to continue to use Wind River Products for teaching and research? Are there any interesting future projects or ideas you can share? 

Yes we are strongly investing in training human resources that will work in the next 5 years at our Lab. We are very excited with the possibility of new partnerships with different Universities in the USA. For example, the new project that we are starting together with the Newman Laboratory for Biomechanics and Human Rehabilitation at MIT. They have a lot of experience combining robot assistance and video games to motivate and improve stroke patients rehabilitation process. 

– end of interview - 

As you can see, there are some impressive things going on in the engineering program at USP! I wish to thank Professor Caurin for taking the time for this interview and for taking full advantage of our Wind River University program. If you have some exciting teaching and research going on with Wind River products let me know. If you are interested in using Wind River products in the class room and lab, take a look at our Wind River University Program.