Efficient Abstraction of Clock Synchronization at the Operating System Level

Authors Alessandro Sorrentino, Federico Terraneo , Alberto Leva

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Author Details

Alessandro Sorrentino
  • DEIB, Polytechnic University of Milano, Italy
Federico Terraneo
  • DEIB, Polytechnic University of Milano, Italy
Alberto Leva
  • DEIB, Polytechnic University of Milano, Italy

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Alessandro Sorrentino, Federico Terraneo, and Alberto Leva. Efficient Abstraction of Clock Synchronization at the Operating System Level. In Fourth Workshop on Next Generation Real-Time Embedded Systems (NG-RES 2023). Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 108, pp. 4:1-4:11, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


Distributed embedded systems are emerging and gaining importance in various domains, including industrial control applications where time determinism - hence network clock synchronization - is fundamental. In modern applications, moreover, this core functionality is required by many different software components, from OS kernel and radio stack up to applications. An abstraction layer devoted to handling time needs therefore introducing, and to encapsulate time corrections at the lowest possible level, the said layer should take the form of a timer device driver offering a Virtual Clock to the entire system. In this paper we show that doing so introduces a nonlinearity in the dynamics of the clock, and we design a controller based on feedback linearization to handle the issue. To put the idea to work, we extend the Miosix RTOS with a generic interface allowing to implement virtual clocks, including the newly designed controller that we call FLOPSYNC-3 after its ancestor. Also, we introduce the resulting virtual clock in the TDMH [Terraneo et al., 2018] real-time wireless mesh protocol.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Computer systems organization → Real-time operating systems
  • Networks → Time synchronization protocols
  • Computer systems organization → Embedded software
  • Clock synchronization
  • Real-time operating systems
  • Embedded software
  • Real-time control


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