One of the respected experts in this field is Sandeep Shukla, an associate
professor at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering's Bradley Department
of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Among Shukla’s current research focuses is the development of embedded
software code generation for space and aviation mission applications.
“The makers of the Airbus 380 claim to have all control software automatically
generated,” he said. “We should develop similar technology to increase
productivity and safety of embedded software-based space- and air-borne systems.”
“Because nanoscale devices are so small and the manufacturing process
is affected by so much variation and inaccuracy, a significant percentage of
computer chip devices manufactured at the nano-scale are defective,” he
Shukla’s work in designing, analyzing, and predicting the performance
of electronic systems — particularly embedded computers — has
drawn acclaim from the National Academies, the National Science Foundation
(NSF), and the White House.
Unlike a general-purpose computer, such as a personal computer, an embedded
system performs one or a few pre-defined tasks, usually with very specific
requirements, and often includes task-specific hardware and mechanical parts
not usually found in a general-purpose computer. Since the system is dedicated
to specific tasks, design engineers can optimize it, reducing the size and
cost of the product. Embedded systems are often mass-produced, benefiting
from economies of scale.
In the earliest years of computers in the 1940s, computers were sometimes
dedicated to a single task, but were too large to be considered "embedded".
Over time however, the concept of programmable controllers developed from
a mix of computer technology, solid state devices, and traditional electromechanical
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