Zero overhead software instrumentation demonstrated at Embedded World

Rapita Systems will be demonstrating a “zero overhead instrumentation” approach for timing analysis & code coverage at Embedded World. This technology allows developers to analyze embedded applications with no additional code for instrumentation.
By: Andrew Coombes, Rapita Systems Ltd
Feb. 26, 2010 - PRLog -- Rapita Systems will be demonstrating its new “zero overhead instrumentation” approach for timing analysis and code coverage at the Embedded World show, Nuremberg, March 2nd-4th. This technology, used with the RapiTime on-target performance analysis tool, allows developers to analyze embedded, real-time applications with no additional code for instrumentation.

Software instrumentation is an important element for dynamic analysis (such as code coverage and execution time measurement) of real-time applications. It works by adding code into an application to show which parts are executed. Despite a reputation for large memory requirements and poor performance, instrumentation does not need to introduce a large overhead. For example, Rapita has pioneered mechanisms to support single instruction instrumentation points, which can have negligible impact on an application’s performance. Zero overhead instrumentation eliminates even this.

The approach to zero overhead instrumentation is based upon collecting a time-stamped trace of locations of code statements executed. This can be implemented in a variety of ways, including using advanced tracing debuggers such as iSYSTEMS iC5000 or Lauterbach PowerTrace solutions with devices that support NEXUS or ARM ETM.

“An ideal solution for measuring code coverage or execution timing has four characteristics” Andrew Coombes, Marketing Manager of Rapita Systems commented. “Measurements are made on target; the application runs at normal speed; results are reported at source level; and no additional code gets introduced into the application. Until now, RapiTime has met the first three of these. We’ve developed ways of keeping instrumentation extremely small by way of addressing the fourth point.” Coombes continued “We’re excited to report that we can now completely satisfy all four characteristics.”

To see the demonstration at Embedded World, visit our booth at Hall 10, Stand 10-206 (Embedded Tools, our German Distributor) or obtain our product brief on zero overhead instrumentation at

The zero overhead instrumentation concept was developed within MERASA, a research project funded by the 7th European Framework Programme (FP7) under contract no 216415. More information can be found at

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Rapita Systems Ltd develops software tools to reduce the cost of measuring and optimize the timing performance large, real-time software systems, such as avionics applications. RapiTime is the only product on the market that can tell users exactly where to focus optimization effort to minimize worst-case execution time. Using RapiTime, customers have been able to reduce the worst-case execution time of large scale, legacy applications by up to 50% with only a few days effort.
Source:Andrew Coombes, Rapita Systems Ltd
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