Benny Akesson

Senior research fellow

Benny Akesson is a Senior Research Fellow at TNO, where he conducts applied research in projects related to system evolvability and system performance. His research interest include model-based engineering and real-time systems. Since 2019, he is a Professor by Special Appointment at the University of Amsterdam, where he holds the Chair of Design Methodologies for Cyber-physical systems.

Research area

Cyber-physical systems across application domains are getting increasingly complex, driven by five technological and market trends:

  1. all current design parameters, e.g. number of interfaces, are increasing by an order of magnitude,
  2. increased customization of systems at design time,
  3. continuous evolution of systems after deployment,
  4. increased system autonomy, and
  5. integration into distributed systems-of-systems.

The consequences of increasing complexity are visible in daily practice in which Dutch industry struggles to efficiently develop correct and well-performing cyber-physical systems.

In line with TNOs goal to increase competitiveness of Dutch industry, my research aims to address increasing complexity through new model-based design methodologies. These are methodologies in which abstraction, provided by models used for specification, communication, analysis, simulation, or synthesis, play an essential role in reducing development time and overall system cost.

A key part of this research is to investigate how models can be used to automatically generate parts of complex systems that are guaranteed to provide the specified functionality at exactly the right time. For example, to ensure that an airbag immediately inflates correctly in the event of a car crash, which requires both correct and timely interactions between hardware and software.

Recent results

A recent highlight is the publication of the first ever empirical survey-based study into industry practice in real-time systems. There is a great need for this line of research in the area of real-time systems to ensure that academic research can be conducted with a better understanding of the current state of the practice and future trends.

The four main contributions of this study are:

  1. insights into the characteristics of real-time systems based on responses from 120 industry practitioners,
  2. discovery of statistically significant differences between the avionics, automotive, and consumer electronics domains,
  3. generalization of the results to the broader population, and
  4. evidence that the aggregate results of the survey are not common knowledge in the real-time systems community.

Triggered by our work, the Technical Committee on Real-time Systems (TCRTS) has extended the scope of the conferences it sponsors to include empirical research. It has also made a form where industry practitioners can register as TCRTS Industry Contacts, thereby contributing to making future survey-based studies easier to conduct and more reliable. This shows that the scientific impact of this work goes beyond just citations, but has also changed the scope of the field of real-time systems.

PhD supervision

  • Marius Herget (NWO-TTW)

Top publications

  • Akesson, J. Hooman, J. Sleuters, et al., “Reducing Design Time and Promoting Evolvability using Domain-specific Languages in an Industrial Context”, Chapter Model Management and Analytics for Large Scale Systems, 2019
  • A. Awan, P. Souto, B. Akesson, et al., “Uneven Memory Regulation for Scheduling IMA Applications on Multi-core Platforms”, Journal Real-Time Systems, Volume 55, Number 2, 2019
  • Minaeva, B. Akesson, Z. Hanzalek , et al., ” Time-Triggered Co-Scheduling of Computation and Communication with Jitter Requirements”, Journal IEEE Transactions on Computers, Volume 67, Number 1, 2018

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