Design and Implementation of a Comprehensive Real-time Java Virtual Machine

The emergence of standards for programming real-time systems in Java has encouraged many developers to consider its use for systems previously only built using C, Ada, or assembly language. However, the RTSJ standard in isolation leaves many important problems unaddressed, and suffers from some serious problems in usability and safety.

As a result, the use of Java for real-time programming has continued to be viewed as risky and adoption has been slow.

In this paper we provide a description of IBM’s new real-time Java virtual machine product, which combines Metronome realtime garbage collection, ahead-of-time compilation, and a complete implementation of the RTSJ standard, running on top of a custom real-time multiprocessor Linux kernel.

We will describe the implementation of each of these components, including how they interacted both positively and negatively, and the extensions to previous work required to move it from research prototype to a system implementing the complete semantics of the Java language. The system has been adopted for hard real-time development of naval weapons systems and soft realtime telecommunications servers. We present measurements showing that the system is able to provide sub-millisecond worst-case garbage collection latencies, 50 microsecond Linux scheduling accuracy, and eliminate non-determinism due to JIT compilation.

By: Joshua Auerbach; David F. Bacon; Bob Blainey; Perry Cheng; Michael Dawson; Mike Fulton; David Grove; Darren Hart; Mark Stoodley

Published in: RC24272 in 2007


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