Advances in Dynamic and Reconfigurable Embedded Systems Design

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Embedded systems are electronic devices consisting of hardware and software that are embedded in a particular context. While the software can commonly be changed through updates, the hardware is usually hardwired. The hardware consists of various components, including one or more microcontroller units to run the software on a fixed circuit board. However, not only are the wires and components on the printed circuit board fixed, but the microcontroller also contains a fixed integrated circuit, making it impossible to change any part of the hardware.

As sustainability and dependability play an increasingly important role in future embedded systems, hardware must also become more flexible. Thus, the possibility of subsequent hardware modifications is particularly important: On the one hand, manufacturers want to hit the market as quickly as possible while still having the option of correcting hardware errors after deployment. On the other hand, they want to minimize maintenance efforts while producing less e-waste.

As hardware updates are not possible nowadays, this thesis proposes two main concepts to bring more flexibility and sustainability to embedded hardware design: an automatic process to generate the system stack below the application software dynamically from the application requirements, and a runtime reconfigurable soft processor that even allows adoption of its logic for bug fixing and adding new functionality.

In the first concept, starting with the application software requirements, the remaining parts of the embedded system are automatically generated. This generation includes the modules of the printed circuit board and their interconnections, but also parts of the operating system layer. The focus is on the selection and composition of hardware modules and the generation of the printed circuit boards.

In the second concept, on reconfigurable soft processors, the main research focus is on the design of a flexible microcontroller architecture. The architecture’s internals must be designed to be partially reconfigurable at runtime, and the actual reconfiguration must even be possible from within the system. Hence, the microcontroller and the operating system must be carefully co-designed to facilitate the reconfiguration process based on the system state. Therefore, another focus is on the conceptual design of related operating system features and the performance measurement of individual hardware and software components.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Technology
Awarding Institution
  • Graz University of Technology (90000)
  • Baunach, Marcel Carsten, Supervisor
  • Reith, Steffen, Advisor, External person
Award date19 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2022


  • embedded systems
  • reconfigurable logic
  • systems generation
  • operating systems
  • dynamic partial reconfiguration
  • RISC-V
  • sustainability
  • long-term maintenance


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