Ada Tasking: From the Ravenscar Profile to Dynamic Scheduling

Professor Alan Burns

Alan Burns has worked for a many years on a number of different aspects of real-time systems engineering. He graduated in 1974 with a first class honours degree in Mathematics from Sheffield University (UK), he then took a D.Phil in the Computer Science Department at the University of York (UK). After a short period of employment at UKAEA Research Centre, Harwell he was appointed to a lectureship at Bradford University in 1979. He was subsequently promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1986. In January 1990 he took up a Readership at the University of York in the Computer Science Department. During 1994 he was promoted to a Personal Chair. In 1999 he became Head of the Computer Science Department at York.

His research activities have covered a number of aspects of real-time and safety critical systems including: requirements for such systems, the specification of safety and timings needs, systems architectures appropriate for the design process, the assessment of languages for use in the real-time safety critical domain (in particular Ada), distributed operating systems, the formal specification of scheduling algorithms and implementation strategies, and the design of dependable user interfaces to safety critical applications.

Professor Alan Burns, together with Professor Wellings, heads the Real-Time Systems research group at the University of York, UK - this is one of the largest research groups in this area in the world and has a strong international reputation.

Professor Burns has is currently involved in a number of research projects including a major EPSRC(UK) funded project on the next generation of fault tolerant real-time systems. He is also involved in two ESPRIT Basic Research Project - Design for Validation (DeVa), and Generic Upgradeable Architectures for Real-time Dependable Systems (Guards) - and a major UK IRC (Inter-disciplinary Research Collaboration) on Dependable systems (a project split over 5 universities and involving 20 port-doc researchers). Industrial funding has been obtained from BAe and Rolls-Royce Aeroengines. He has acted as an advisor for a number of organisations including the European Space Agency and NASA. In 1995 he was Programme Chair for the 14th IEEE Real-Time System Symposium. He is on the IFAC Technical Committee on Real-Time Software Engineering and is an advisor to the Swedish Research Council's initiative on Research on Real-Time. He is a chair of the ISO (WG9/HRG) group producing guidelines on the use of Ada95 in high integrity systems. He recently was voted vice-chair of the IEEE technical committee on real-time systems.

He has been one of the organisers behind the series of workshops - International Workshops on Real-Time Ada Issues - which is holding its 10 event this year. He is one of the major instigators and designers of the Ravenscar Profile for the use of Ada tasking in real-time high-integrity systems.

He has authored/co-authored over 300 papers/reports and 8 books. Most of these are in the Ada or real-time area. His teaching activities include courses in Operating Systems, Scheduling and Real-time Systems.

Professor Alan Burns, Head of Department
Department of Computer Science
University of York
York, UK
YO10 5DD