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Time in SCCharts

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Part of the Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering book series (LNEE,volume 611)


Synchronous languages, such as the recently proposed SCCharts language, have been designed for the rigorous specification of real-time systems. Their sound semantics, which build on an abstraction from physical execution time, make these languages appealing, in particular for safety-critical systems. However, they traditionally lack built-in support for physical time. This makes it rather cumbersome to express things like timeouts or periodic executions within the language.

We here propose several mechanisms to reconcile the synchronous paradigm with physical time. Specifically, we propose extensions to the SCCharts language to express clocks and execution periods within the model. We draw on several sources, in particular timed automata, the Clock Constraint Specification Language, and the recently proposed concept of dynamic ticks. We illustrate how these extensions can be mapped to the SCChart language core, with minimal requirements on the runtime system, and we argue that the same concepts could be applied to other synchronous languages such as Esterel, Lustre, or SCADE.


  • Real-time systems
  • Reactive systems
  • Safety-critical systems
  • Determinism
  • Synchronous languages
  • Sequential constructiveness
  • Initialize-update-read protocol
  • SCCharts
  • Model-based engineering
  • Timed automata
  • Multirate timed automata
  • Dynamic ticks
  • Clocks
  • Timing specification
  • Timing constraints
  • Clock constraint specification language
  • Timeouts
  • Periodic executions
  • Physical execution time
  • Multiform notion of time
  • Time-triggered
  • Event-triggered
  • Time-event-triggered

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  1. 1.

    In SCCharts float is an abstract floating point number without actual precision limitations. We consider the choice of an actual data type orthogonal to the general concept presented here.

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Schulz-Rosengarten, A., von Hanxleden, R., Mallet, F., de Simone, R., Deantoni, J. (2020). Time in SCCharts. In: Kazmierski, T., Steinhorst, S., Große, D. (eds) Languages, Design Methods, and Tools for Electronic System Design. Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering, vol 611. Springer, Cham.

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