Course Title: Real Time Systems Design

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Real Time Systems Design

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


125H Electrical & Computer Engineering


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 2 2022,
Sem 2 2023

Course Coordinator: Dr Samuel Ippolito

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2673

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 10.07.06

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

You are expected to be reasonably competent in either C or C++ programming, having satisfactorily completed a course such as EEET2368 Network Fundamentals and Applications or equivalent studies. You should also have a basic working knowledge of UNIX like operating systems and commands, as well as the ability to program and debug within an integrated development environment (IDE) such as Eclipse or Visual Studio.

Course Description

This course covers the design and implementation of multi-threaded and real-time systems, with particular emphasis on real-time systems for control of industrial processes and for embedded systems based on ARMv7 and x86 architectures.

Contents of the course include:

  • Features and characteristics of real-time systems.
  • Concurrent processes and mutual exclusion operations.
  • Inter process communication and message passing between programs running on the same system or another system on the network. 
  • Analysis and design of real time systems.
  • Embedded systems design.
  • Real-time scheduling principles.

You will be required to demonstrate your understanding by applying your gained knowledge to a 5-6 week project using a commercial grade industrial real-time operating system and development environment.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following program learning outcomes of the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours):

1.3 In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.

1.4 Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.

1.6 Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of contemporary engineering practice in the specific discipline.

2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.

2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.

2.3 Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.

3.2 Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.

3.5 Orderly management of self, and professional conduct.


Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Characterise real-time systems and describe their functions.
  2. Analyse, design and implement a real-time system.
  3. Apply formal methods to the analysis and design of real-time systems.
  4. Apply formal methods for scheduling real-time systems.
  5. Characterise and debug a real-time system.


Overview of Learning Activities

Student learning occurs through the following experiences and evaluation processes:

  • A series of 10 interactive (2 hour) recorded lectorials will guide you to important concepts and give you many practical hints for the design of real-time systems.
  • The laboratory work will help you to connect theory with practice.
  • The project is a problem-based learning activity that will require you to exercise many of the skills required for real-time design and implementation. It will also help develop your team skills and give you experience with an industry leading real-time operating system and associated development tools. The course resources (accessible from the Web) have links to on-line resources for you to access and expand your knowledge of the topics.

Overview of Learning Resources

The learning resources for this course include:

  • Recorded interactive lectorial with detailed notes provided online.
  • Electronic media (Linux based live ISO image) containing a real-time development environment will be made available to assist with independent study.
  • Various reference notes/books will be suggested: See the course guide Part B available at the start of classes for the list of recommended references.
  • Relevant embedded equipment and software will be made available in laboratories for use throughout the semester.
  • Supplementary course content (e.g. examples, etc.) will made available on-line


Overview of Assessment

☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

There are four key components:

  • Lab tasks to solve a sequential set of small problems during weeks 2 to 6.
  • A major group project to design and implement a moderately complex real time system using a commercial grade real time operating system.
  • A formalised written assignment.
  • A final timed assessment.

The formalised laboratory tasks and assignments will help you gain competence in solving problems in real time systems as well as teach you the fundamental concepts that are required to solve the group project task. The assignment will be a short research paper, enabling you to delve deeper into a very specific topic of real time system design.

The group project has a number of tasks, including: initial design, final report and implementation/ demonstration. As the project requires you to design, develop and test a large distributed (networked) real time system, it will be completed in groups, which will help develop teamwork and leadership skills as well as provide the potential to use software version-control and collaboration tools. 

The final timed assessment will test your individual capabilities. This includes your ability to describe the principles of real-time systems, and apply techniques covered in lectures to solve various real time systems problems. It also tests your problem-solving skills as applied to the design of multi node and concurrent programs running in networked/ distributed a real time system. 

Assessment tasks: Written feedback will be provided on all written assignments/reports. Face-to-face feedback will be provided for assessed items during the laboratory sessions and final group project demonstration session.

Assessment schedule for Melbourne Delivery: 

Assessment Task 1: Laboratory Tasks
Five laboratory tasks will be held in the first 6 weeks of the course. 
Weighting: 3% each; Total 15%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 4 and 5

Assessment Task 2: Research Assignment
Weighting: 10%
This assessment task supports CLOs 3, 4 and 5

Assessment Task 3: Group Project
Includes an initial design report, a final report and implementation/ demonstration component. 
Weighting: 5%, 15% and 30%; Total 50%
This assessment task supports CLOs 2, 3, 4 and 5

Assessment Task 4: Final Timed Assessment
Final timed assessment of 3 hours duration to be taken at any time during a window of 24 hours. 
Weighting: 25%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Note: Assessment schedule for offshore delivery may be different.