The 10th Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs 2003

September 8th - 12th, 2003


Patterns and Pattern Languages for Distributed Real-Time and Embedded Systems


The goal of this focus topic is to advance the patterns literature for distributed real-time and embedded (DRE) systems, with special attention both toward identifying new patterns relevant to the DRE domain, and toward deepening our understanding of how pattern languages can reveal and exploit relationships and interconnections between the individual DRE system patterns. First, we solicit papers that document newly identified patterns in areas related to DRE systems, such as distributed protocols and algorithms, real-time resource management, and small memory footprint. Second, we encourage papers that describe pattern languages for applying patterns to generate designs in the DRE systems domain. Finally, we strongly encourage papers describing design patterns and especially pattern languages that cross traditional architectural, domain, or other system boundaries, and thus connect the DRE systems domain with the larger contexts in which DRE systems are increasingly being designed, developed, and deployed.


In response to a steadily growing demand for embedded devices, embedded systems are becoming increasingly prevalent. As embedded systems proliferate they are increasingly interconnected, leading to significant interest in the design and optimization of systems of networked embedded systems. Furthermore, as the capabilities of these kinds of systems become more evident and visible, increasing requirements for real-time behavior, security, certification, fault-tolerance, and other extra-functional quality-of-service (QoS) properties are being placed on DRE systems.

In addition to traditional DRE domains such as aerospace and defense, key commercial domains such as telecom, automotive, and process automation are increasingly involved with developing, deploying, and managing DRE systems. Traditionally, custom development of embedded hardware and software was used to meet key system constraints, especially for extra-functional system properties. However, due to demands for reductions in both system cost and upgrade cycles, proprietary embedded hardware and software is largely being replaced with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) elements.

Unfortunately, using COTS elements alone is insufficient to address the complexity of designing DRE systems that both exhibit high fidelity to QoS requirements, and support general-purpose techniques for building DRE systems. It is thus crucial to (re)examine design patterns from proprietary approaches, and integrate, update, or replace those patterns within a COTS context. In particular, we appeal to practitioners, researchers, and developers in the traditional and emerging DRE domains to document their design experience in the form of patterns and pattern languages, for study, comparison, and categorization within the growing body of DRE patterns literature.

Who Should Participate

Papers are invited from two main audiences. The first group consists of practitioners and researchers with prior experience discussing, applying, and potentially writing patterns and pattern languages. For example, papers documenting new patterns and pattern languages that extend work from previous PLoP conferences are highly welcome. We also strongly encourage submissions from pattern authors whose primary focus may lie outside DRE systems, but who describe patterns and pattern languages connecting other domains with DRE system domains.

Second, we strongly encourage members of the larger DRE systems community who may not have previous exposure to writing patterns and pattern languages to describe proven and recurring design solutions from their areas of expertise in patterns form. We will support new pattern and pattern language writers actively by ensuring highest quality shepherding and offering overall discussion of patterns in the DRE domain, will also be supplemented by the overall "enculturation" in patterns through activities of the conference as a whole.

Organizer and Submission Information

Dr. Christopher D. Gill is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Washington University in St.Louis, MO. He has conducted research in the area of distributed real-time and embedded (DRE) systems for the past six years, with an emphasis on middleware frameworks for configuring and enforcing real-time, fault-tolerant, and embedded system properties. He is a member of a small group of editors seeking to collect and refine DRE patterns reviewed at the PLoP 2002 focus group on DRE systems, as well as from a similar workshop at OOPSLA 2002. Papers submitted to this focus topic (in Word, PS, or PDF formats only, please), as well as any questions regarding submissions, shepherding, or other topics relevant to this focus topic should be sent to Chris Gill at

Evaluation of Submissions

Last year's focus group on patterns and pattern languages for DRE systems employed an original and highly effective evaluation technique that will be used again this year: experienced pattern and pattern language reviewers, ideally with previous shepherding experience, will be selected from the pool of people submitting papers to the focus group. If necessary, this group of reviewers will be augmented with outside patterns experts, but that was not needed last year. Papers will be assigned according to areas of expertise, with each reviewer ideally considering no more than 2-3 papers. Among the papers considered ready for PLoP 2003, shepherds will be assigned.

Session Format

This session will generally follow the default PLoP 2003 format, with 6-7 writers' workshop sessions over the course of the conference, roughly 2-3 each day depending on the number of papers accepted for the focus group. We will also organize a session in which a brief presentation of our topic are will be made and then opened to discussion. Other kinds of interactions with conference attendees in other topic areas are of definite interest, and we will work with the conference organizers to identify and realize other opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas and discussions between focus groups.


PLoP is a trademark of The Hillside Group, Inc.