ESC Boston 2019: An Introduction to RTOS

May 15 – May 15, 2019

Planning to be at Embedded System Conference 2019 in Boston? Come see Jean Labrosse (Software Architect, Silicon Labs) present an introduction to real-time operating systems.

Embedded System Conference
May 15–16, 2019
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

For more information, see the ESC Boston 2019 website.

An Introduction to RTOS

Location: Focus on Fundamentals Satellite Area - Outside Room 106
Date: Wednesday, May 15
Time: 9:00am - 10:00am
Track: ESC Boston, Track E: Focus on Fundamentals, ESC Boston, Track B: Embedded Software Design & Verification

An RTOS is software that manages and optimizes the time and resources available to a CPU. RTOSs have been available since the late 70s and have been used on 8-bit CPUs and now, with the popularity of 32-bit CPUs it almost doesn't make sense to not use an RTOS in your embedded design.

This tutorial will help you understand what RTOSs are and they work so that you can make better use of their features. The class will explain what an RTOS is and why you should use one. We'll explain what task are, why you need a stack for each task, how and when an RTOS decides which task to run, what a preemptive kernel is, how to split your application into tasks, what are semaphores and how to use them, what's the difference between semaphores and mutexes, how to assign priorities to tasks, we'll talk about priority inversions, how to reduce power consumption and more.

The class will include demos showing multitasking in action, how to visualize the operation of your tasks under an RTOS, show you how much stack space you need to allocate to tasks, how to determine how much CPU time is being consumed by your application, and more.

The demos will be designed around Micrium's uC/OS-III running on an ARM Cortex-M platform. However, the knowledge you will gain will apply to all RTOS whether open source or commercial.


Understand the benefits and drawbacks of using an RTOS in your embedded design.
Understand ISRs, scheduling, the ready-list, wait lists, semaphores, queues and more.

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