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Model-Driven Development of Reconfigurable Protocol Stack for Networked Control Systems

Model-Driven Development of Reconfigurable Protocol Stack for Networked Control Systems

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Model-Driven Development of Reconfigurable
Protocol Stack for Networked Control Systems
Model-Driven Development of Reconfigurable
Protocol Stack for Networked Control Systems

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SYSTEMS, MAN, AND CYBERNETICS—PART C: APPLICATIONS AND REVIEWS, VOL. 42, NO. 6, NOVEMBER 2012 1439
Model-Driven Development of ReconfigurableProtocol Stack for Networked Control Systems
Chunjie Zhou, Hui Chen, Naixue Xiong
 , Member, IEEE 
, Xiongfeng Huang,and Athanasios V. Vasilakos
 , Senior Member, IEEE 
 Abstract
—Innetworkedcontrolsystems(NCS),theperformancedegradation introduced by the heterogeneous and dynamic envi-ronmenthasintensifiedtheneedforreconfigurableprotocolstacks(RPS). In this paper, an IEC61499-based method is proposed forthe model-driven development of RPS. The method is enabled bydefininganovelRPSfunctionblock(FB),whichunifiesthecommu-nication behavior and interface of nodes in NCS. Beyond existingcommunication FBs in IEC61499, the parameter reconfigurationof routing and scheduling table in RPS FB is highlighted as thecore of communication layer function to adapt environment andsystem variations. Furthermore, the method allows for the codereconfiguration on Java algorithms in RPS FB under different ap-plication requirements. Through porting the Java virtual machineondifferentplatforms,thecodereconfigurationisimplementedbyreloading the .class file for a specified protocol FB. A case studyon the embedded platform, such as DSP/BIOS and ARM/Linux,is conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness and feasibility of the proposed reconfiguration method for maintaining stable andpredictable behavior in NCS.
 Index Terms
—IEC61499, model-driven development, net-worked control system (NCS), protocol stack, reconfiguration.
I. I
NTRODUCTION
A
NETWORKED control system (NCS) uses a distributedcontrol architecture where sensors, actuators, and con-trollers are interconnected through a real-time network [1]. Thecommunicationprotocolstackthatdirectlyaffectstheperceivedcommunication quality of service (QoS) plays a critical role indetermining the system performance. However, a unified com-munication protocol standard is not available at present for thereasons of commercial benefits, history, and multiapplicationobjects [2]. In addition, the availability of communication re-sources may change unexpectedly [3], due to the variety of 
Manuscript received April 30, 2011; revised September 16, 2011; acceptedFebruary 28, 2012. Date of publication May 1, 2012; date of current versionDecember 17, 2012. This work was supported in part by the National NaturalScience Foundation of China under Grant 61074145 and Grant 60674081. Thispaper was recommended by Associate Editor R. W. Brennan.C. Zhou, H. Chen, and X. Huang are with the Key Laboratory of Min-istry of Education for Image Processing and Intelligent Control, Departmentof Control Science and Engineering, Huazhong University of Science andTechnology, Wuhan 430074, China (e-mail: cjiezhou@mail.hust.edu.cn; hus-thuichen@gmail.com; sxdxhuangxf@163.com).N. Xiong is with the Department of Computer Science, Georgia State Uni-versity, Atlanta, GA 30303 USA (e-mail: nxiong@cs.gsu.edu).A.V.VasilakosiswiththeDepartmentofComputerandTelecommunicationsEngineering, University of Western Macedonia, 50100 Kozani, Greece (e-mail:vasilako@ath.forthnet.gr).Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available onlineat http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TSMCC.2012.2190593
applicationdemands,orthenetworkdisturbance.Consequently,the control algorithm in the system will not render the intendedresults if certain QoS conditions (e.g., time delay) are not ob-served. It is inherently difficult to guarantee punctuality andpredictable QoS, because QoS objects of different protocols arehard to be coordinated in a whole when lacking of a unifiedarchitecture that specifies functional and interactions modelstherein.To cope with this challenge, there has been an increasingemphasis on developing reconfigurable protocol stacks (RPS)in such a distributed, heterogeneous, and changeable environ-ment [4], [5]. Protocol stack reconfiguration is the implementa-tion of a software environment that supports flexible manage-ment of protocol components. Reconfiguration behaviors, suchas parameter reassignment, service updating, and functionalityreplacement, will be executed once the environment constraintsor system requirements change.Traditionally, most reconfiguration approaches enumeratedall possible strategies that were in general coded of devices,suchasthe“ComScriptenvironmentrepresentedbyMuhugusa
et al.
 [6] and the “feedback control framework” by Eracar andKokar [7]. Current software engineering such as model-drivendevelopment can facilitate the development and deployment of complex protocol reconfiguration process. Motivated by theseresearch works, we proposed architectures for the functionalityverificationandperformanceevaluationofRPSforNCS[8],[9].The reconfiguration services for industrial communication stan-dards were discussed, e.g., Fieldbus [10] and Industrial Eth-ernet [11]. However, under the RPS concept, the platform-independent implementation and the compatibility with indus-trialprogramminglanguageIEC61131-3isstillachallenge.Thestandard IEC61499 has addressed these issues, which providesseamless interface for IEC61131-3 applications and could beregarded as a model-driven development approach for the rapiddeployment of real-time distributed automation systems. Thereconfiguration that is defined by IEC61499 could be automaticwithout service interruption or with a minimal one [12], [13].In this paper, we develop a model-driven framework to im-plement a reconfiguration scheme for protocol stacks of NCS.ThestandardIEC61499isusedtobuildFBsrepresentingdiffer-ent protocol algorithms and interfaces. These protocol FBs arecomposed to be a unified RPS composite FB, which providesa unified architecture for industrial communication and dealswith the heterogeneous and dynamic environment by inherit-ing the advantages of Java and IEC61131-3. Both parameterand code reconfiguration are enabled with the help of FunctionBlock Development Kit (FBDK), which is the one of famous
1094-6977/$31.00 © 2012 IEEE
 
1440 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SYSTEMS, MAN, AND CYBERNETICS—PART C: APPLICATIONS AND REVIEWS, VOL. 42, NO. 6, NOVEMBER 2012
Fig. 1. Typical structure of NCS.
IEC61499 compliant development environments. On one hand,the routing and the scheduling schemes that are related to theQoS control are highlighted as the core of RPS architecture. Inthis cross-layer way, the RPS can reconfigure the parametersof routing and scheduling table at run time to cope with varia-tions from the application, data link, and physical layer. On theother hand, the RPS FB is distributed to different devices withFunction Block Runtime (FBRT) environment, which is a jarfile providing methods for the running of FBs defined in FBDK.The platform heterogeneous problem has been solved by port-ing of JVM. The code reconfiguration is enabled by replacingand recompiling the .class file of a certain protocol FB.The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. SectionII investigates the background of our work, including charac-teristics of NCS, practices of protocol stack architecture, andreconfiguration researches in IEC61499. Section III elaboratesthe framework for the model-driven management of RPS forNCS. In Section IV, a set of FBs and detail data interfaces aredevised for the information exchange architecture of protocolstack under the standard of IEC61499. In Section V, a test ap-plication for the proposed RPS FB is built up, and the real-timescheduling and reconfiguration test are conducted to show howthe RPS works and how the real-time performance has beenguaranteed. Finally, Section VI gives concluding remarks andfuture topics.II. R
ELATED
 W
ORK
In this section, we discuss the existing subproblems of re-configuration design in terms of communication characteristicsoverNCS,reconfigurationmethods,andthestandardIEC61499for dynamic reconfigurations.An NCS is a distributed real-time control system (see Fig. 1).In order to alleviate network loads on one shared medium, thecontrol network that connects field devices is usually dividedinto a number of network segments with different applicationobjects. One master node is defined to govern the messagescheduling of inner segment and dynamic connections to outersegment, while other slave nodes act as functional nodes of sensor, controller, and actuator which occupy communicationresources according to the plan of master node.Due to the network transmission, the performance of the con-trol system is assumed to be affected by QoS parameters suchas delays, jitters, packet losses, and link failures [14]. All thereal-time data transmissions meet the delay bound is the mostimportant performance indicator for NCS. In order to assuregood performance, the time delay from sensor to controller, orcontroller to actuator, should be controlled in a certain range bycommunication protocols. If the controller does not receive anyresponse before the deadline, the control performance would bedegraded [15]. More specifically, the time delay is composed of four parts: the sending, waiting, receiving, and transmission de-lays. The sending and receiving time delays are divinable whenthecomputationcapabilityandthestandardofmessagehandlingprocess are determined on a specific platform. Comparatively,the waiting and transmission time delays are undeterministic,which depend on the communication environment (e.g., trafficload, bandwidth, and transmission paths) and the way to sharecommunication resources. All these time issues are highly in-fluenced by the software architecture design of communicationprotocol stack.In order to realize the RPS supporting many different kindsof critical real-time applications and network protocols in NCS,the following two fundamental problems have to be studied.Thefirstconsiderationistocharacterizeandmodelthesystemstructure, traffic classification, and timing constraints. Accord-ing to the survey of industrial real-time communication [10],[11], it is possible to model general functionalities (or work-ing mode) in an additional module to accommodate differentprotocol standards. These general modules are formed togetheras the backbone of protocol stack, and they would perform anew function that adapts to variegations in requirements whenbeing recognized. Motivated by these, we attempt to provide aunified framework for the support of reconfiguration manage-ment to accommodate heterogeneous protocol standards anddifferent application objects. Considering the real-time issue,the scheduling scheme that manages the message sending inter-vals on the communication channel has a close relation to thewaitingtimedelay[16],andtheroutingschemethatgovernsthetransmission paths and network topology determine the trans-mission time delay [17]. Thus, these two QoS related schemesshould be highlighted as the core of protocol stack.The second problem is the question of how to design a datainterface with real-time features and to provide a real-time in-tertask communication channel that concurrently carries inter-reconfiguration jobs between protocol modules. An explicitspecification is needed for the real-time processing both insideand outside protocol stack at the level of data frame structureamong software modules. In the communication community,the heterogeneous standards and the changeable environmenthave both intensified the protocol stack to be capable of thereconfiguration ability. Researchers in networking communityhad begun to pay more efforts on the design of RPS since the1990s [6]. The work of Muhugusa
 et al.
 [6] presented a hierar-chical framework to construct adaptive protocol stacks by thereplacement of an entire protocol stack with a new one. Eracarand Kokar [7] implemented the reconfigurable software archi-tecture that can adapt to changes in software requirements. The
 
ZHOU
 et al.
: MODEL-DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT OF RECONFIGURABLE PROTOCOL STACK 1441
architecture implemented as separated microprotocol moduleswas given in the work of Denazis
 et al.
 [18] and Bridges
 et al.
[19], which supported a framework to construct configurableprotocol services. However, these frameworks lack a direct in-terface for the industrial application standard IEC 61131-3.TheInternationalElectrotechnicalCommission(IEC)hasad-dressed the reconfiguration issue by the standard IEC61499,which is compliant with IEC 61131-3 applications and a model-driven development approach for the rapid deployment of real-time distributed automation systems [20], [21]. The most im-portant concepts of IEC61499 are an event–driven executionmodel,amanagementinterfacecapableofbasicreconfigurationsupport, and the application centered engineering methodology[22].Variousresearchersdevelopedreconfigurationmethodolo-gies for the industrial communication based on IEC61499: Theresearch project TORERO [23] focused on plug-and-play andself-(re)configuration of field devices in a so-called total life-cycle approach that utilized IEC61499 to model control logic,but still the system had to be stopped for deployment of code tothe devices. Rooker
 et al.
 [24] discussed the dynamic reconfig-uration management method “zero downtime reconfiguration”for downtimeless system evolution of control applications onbasis of the standard IEC61499. Brennan
 et al.
 [25] exploitedmultiagent techniques to allow the system to reconfigure au-tomatically in response to change. In general, these analysesare based on specific logic formalizations and applied in thereconfiguration of system components, but not for the protocolreconfiguration that affected the networking performance of adistributed system.Consideringreal-timecommunicationlinksbetweendevices,Weehuizen and Zoitl [26] showed a framework for the imple-mentation using EtherNet/IP as the communication medium.In [27], the authors proposed a scheduling attempt supportingreal-time constrained execution within an IEC 64199 device.Froschauer
 et al.
 [28] cover the modeling frameworks for thediverse communication links with different protocols and QoSconstraints and used the architecture analysis and design lan-guage (AADL) to extend the IEC61499 modeling ability onthe QoS definition and validation. In [29], the authors appliedthe integration of the AADL Software model and the FDCMLHardwaremodeltoreducetheengineeringtimebyanautomaticconfiguration of the communication networks. Similar to theseworks,weuseapureIEC61499frameworktogiveageneticRPSFB for distributed automation systems. The RPS framework isfocusedonprovidingthereal-timecommunicationserviceswiththe routing and scheduling algorithm inside protocol algorithm,rather than the executions between FBs. Based on the RPSframework, parameter reconfiguration and code reconfigurationare supported by the IEC61499 environment, such as FBDK.The tool FBDK can supports the whole reconfiguration lifecycle [30]. It is capable of defining FB types, and designingFB diagrams, resources, and devices, as well as provides aJava interface that lets the engineer to visually test his dia-grams. Similarly, the project FBRT and Archimedes SystemPlatform [31] also made big efforts on the issue of generation of executable code from FB design specifications. However, it isimportant to note that the RPS framework is not limited to anyIEC61499developmenttools.Ourreconfigurationideaofproto-colstackisshownbyexplicatingasetofIEC61499componentsand interfaces to accommodate different protocol standards,rather than relying on a fixed repository of predefined protocolconfigurations.III. R
ECONFIGURATION
 M
ANAGEMENT OF
 R
ECONFIGURABLE
P
ROTOCOL
 S
TACK
 F
UNCTION
 B
LOCK
RPS requires software architectures that are flexible and cansupport tools and algorithms from a variety of sources and do-mains. The management is the key to implement the RPS. Itallowsapplicationstodynamicallyadjusttheparametersconfig-uration of each layer or mix and match protocol FBs accordingto control requirements and network availability. This sectionintroduces a model-driven framework realizing the reconfigura-tion management process of the code and model space on basisof the information exchange architecture of RPS.
 A. Management Structure
A management structure is devised to control the reconfigu-ration procedures of protocol stack that reacts to changes in thenetwork and user environment. Fig. 2 outlines the reconfigura-tion management framework that serves as a general workflowto deal with the interaction between individuals and coordina-tion with environment during the reconfiguration process. Theframework manages the parameter reconfiguration and codereconfiguration with processes of model description, code vali-dation, performance evaluation, and algorithm optimization.1)
 Model Description:
 Benefiting from the IEC61499, allstructural, functional, and data aspects of the protocolstack could be added to composite IEC61499 FBs. TheIEC61499 is taken as the basis of our model-driven devel-opment technique that keeps track of data flows, identifiesthe type of changes, evaluates the reconfiguration result,and generates a new stack code accordingly.2)
 Code Validation:
 With the help of JAVA, our proposedframework for the implementation of RPS could detectthe functional inconsistency or errors with controller de-mands. Once the validation passed, the new protocol FBcould be porting to different environment.3)
 Performance Evaluation:
 The given protocol stack FBswould be deployed in a specified system scenario. Giventhe set of architecture and environment blocks defined forthe system, the execution of protocol stack is influencedbytheaspectsofcomputationability,resourceavailability,andtransmissiontimedelay.Then,evaluationresults,e.g.,delay constraint, network utilization, and efficiency, arecompared.4)
 Algorithm Optimization:
 In the case of communicationperformance not satisfying with the control requirements,the parameter configuration inside the protocol FB wouldbe first acted on the changes in routing and schedulingtable to adapt the environments variations. Otherwise, if the system or environment changes severely, e.g., new ap-plications or new hardware platform is required, the codereconfigurationisperformedastheprocedureofalgorithm

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