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Real-Time Systems (RTS)

Only 2% of CPUs are found in the desktop computers and servers with which we are all familiar. The remaining 98% are embedded in other systems such as washing machines, mobile phones, cars, aeroplanes and nuclear power plants. Many of these embedded applications are safety critical; a system failure endangers lives. Correct behaviour of real-time systems requires not only that correct results are produced, but also that these correct results are produced in a timely manner. The research of the Real-Time Systems group addresses all aspects of the design, construction, analysis and maintenance of real-time and embedded systems. Current work considers a range of topics including timing analysis, scheduling, systems design, programming languages, operating system kernels, reconfigurable hardware, multiprocessor and distributed systems.

Group Aims

The research of the Real-Time Systems group aims to facilitate the design, construction, analysis and maintenance of potentially complex systems which have real-time constraints. Real-time systems are required to respond to input stimuli within a finite and specified time interval, and are found in many application domains from simple domestic appliances to multimedia systems, large-scale process control and safety critical avionics. The group is among the world's largest academic research groups addressing real-time issues, and enjoys strong links with numerous industrial and academic research partners.

Senior Member: Alan Burns

Contact Person: Neil Audsley

Research Areas

Timing Analysis

  • Static code analysis
  • Worst-case execution time analysis
  • Probabilistic theories of time

Embedded Systems

  • Multiprocessor platforms and networks-on-chip
  • Wireless sensor networks
  • Adaptive and reconfigurable hardware

Operating Systems

  • Fault tolerance
  • Kernels
  • Distributed and parallel architectures

Programming Languages

  • Concurrent object-oriented languages
  • Real-Time Java
  • Ada

System Design

  • Model-driven design
  • Search-based engineering
  • Design methods and tools
  • Virtual and remote hardware/software prototyping


Scheduling Analysis

  • Multiprocessor / multicore scheduling
  • Mixed criticality systems
  • Uniprocessor scheduling
  • Network / communications scheduling


  • EU
  • Philips
  • IBM
  • BAE Systems
  • Rapita Systems

Research Projects

  • SSEI
  • ArtistDesign

Industrial Collaborators

  • ESA
  • NASA
  • QinetiQ
  • Rolls Royce Aeroengines
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Philips
  • Microsoft
  • BAE Systems
  • Rapita Systems

Academic Collaborators

  • Technische Universität Wien
  • Università di Pisa
  • Universidad de Cantabria

Academic Members of the Group

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Real-Time Systems (RTS)

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Researcher Profile

Image of Ian Gray - Researcher profile

Ian Gray

"My work is centred around the use of new programming models to help the development of complex real-time and embedded systems."

Research area: Programming models for embedded systems

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Further reading