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Real-Time UML Workshop for Embedded Systems
This book is part of an Embedded Technology series and is about the Unified Modeling Language (UML), an object-modeling standard of the Object Management Group. Page one reads: "The UML is a rich language for modeling both software and systems, and it is the de facto standard for software modeling." It is a graphical language in that diagrams are the basic modeling element, of which there are four types: functional, behavioral, structural, and interaction. Each type has a set of different diagrams. For example, behavioral diagrams include activity and statechart diagrams.
This book assumes the reader has some prior knowledge of UML, though a quick overview is given. It is then applied to application examples. The main ones are a traffic-light controller and an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) mission design, including the UAV.
UML is essentially a system-level modeling language. By describing the system in high-level language, and especially in the language of function and specification involving system goals, one has a method of both organizing and manipulating complexity. Whether there is something here for SoC design, where the large-scale IC is embedded in a complicated system with complicated interactions between the IC and the rest of the system, was hard for me to determine from this book. Perhaps it would be better suited to the automation of electronic system diagnosis and high-level test or repair.
In reviewing the book, I was hoping to find a universal modeling tool, of sorts, that would (in its universality) extend to analog electronics. Although it has the potential for being used to organize complexity of structure, behavior, and function, my brief perusal led me to believe that UML is more of an organizing formalism, like the PERT charts of business planners, though it spans levels of detail down to the creation of object code for high-level computer languages. It reminds me of something that an artificial-intelligence researcher of the 1970s might create to commercialize some of the AI understanding of physical systems from a computational perspective.
I doubt if UML will displace SPICE or higher-level electronics and multi-technology modeling simulators, though the analog system-level designer might want to keep a background-mode awareness of UML. This book provides a practical exposure to it in that it reveals more how UML is used than what it is. Not to worry; the author writes (page 2) that UML is "relatively easy to learn" and once learned, "relatively intuitive." I think it might be worth knowing about UML as an analog-systems electroniker, and this book provides a busy engineer a quick exposure to it.
The author has an unusual background. "Bruce was raised by wolves in the Oregon wilderness." A self-described child prodigy, he learned calculus before age 12, dropped out of school at age 14, and completed his formal education with a Ph.D in neurophysiology, having developed a branch of mathematics "for studying information processing in multicellular biological neural systems." He has over 25 years of real-time software development experience and is a key participant in the development and promotion of UML, as Chief Evangelist (his title) for Telelogic, a real-time system tool developer and supplier.