UXL Foundation Safety Critical SIG Created

The UXL Foundation Steering Committee agreed to the creation of a new Safety Critical Special Interest Group (SIG) to investigate how to integrate UXL Foundation projects into safety-critical systems. Led by Verena Beckham from Codeplay, the first meeting is on 28th February 2024 — Get involved!

Interest in artificial intelligence (AI) is growing in the automotive and aerospace markets. AI algorithms promise to enable autonomous behavior that, up to now, has been out of reach. In automotive, in particular, AI shows promise as a technology to implement advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD) features. However, AI algorithms require significant compute resources, and the embedded nature of the devices constrains the available power. Hence, these industries are looking to heterogeneous hardware to fulfil their performance and power requirements.

The growing importance of software in automotive and aerospace industries has also led to an increase in complexity and an explosion of development costs, which has become prohibitive for any individual company. To be commercially viable, open software ecosystems are required.

Safety Critical markets have additional requirements that set them apart from industries such as HPC (high-performance computing). The software must be safe, due to the possibility of faults causing harm to individuals and property. These industries are said to be Safety Critical (SC); other SC industries include medical and rail.

To ensure safety, software typically needs to be certified to safety standards, such as ISO 26262 or DO-178C. These standards make demands on the code that is written, as well as the processes used to develop it. This means that software that is to be certified incurs a much higher development cost per feature than traditional software, and the priorities during development are different from other software development. Safety and certifiability are of the highest priority, and at times performance must be traded off to achieve simplicity and determinism, both of which can improve safety and certifiability.

SYCL ™ is a higher-level programming model that enables the programming of heterogeneous hardware in a portable way. It is an open standard defined by the Khronos Group.

To enable Safety Critical industries to more easily integrate SYCL into their systems, the SYCL SC Working Group (WG) was created in March 2023. The WG is defining a new standard that is based on SYCL 2020 (the latest released version) allowing an implementation of the runtime as well as applications using the API to be more easily certified to safety standards. This involves, for example, reducing the size of the API, supporting deterministic execution, and ensuring the API is MISRA C++:2023 compliant. Khronos, however, is limited to defining the specification of standards. For SYCL and SYCL SC, a user further requires an implementation of the standard, as well as libraries and tools to enable development. For Safety Critical systems, the implementation, libraries, and tools need to be certified or qualified to the relevant safety standard.

DPC++ is an open-source implementation of SYCL, part of oneAPI, that is in the process of being integrated into the LLVM project.

The final piece of the puzzle is provided by the UXL Foundation, which hosts projects that include many libraries that can potentially reduce the cost of development of SC systems. However, the specifications and implementations have not been developed with safety as a priority.

It is of benefit for the companies interested in using the UXL Foundation projects in Safety Critical systems to collaborate and to share expertise and guidance on the steps required to achieve this. It is also important to influence the direction of the UXL Foundation to ensure that the requirements specific to SC industries can be met.

For this purpose, the UXL Foundation has created a new Safety Critical SIG to enable and accelerate the integration of UXL Foundation projects into SC systems.

The UXL Foundation is still very much at the beginning of its journey, which is a great time to get involved, since development processes are still malleable and development history relatively contained.

Topics that may be discussed by the SIG include the following

  • How to make UXL Foundation projects easier to certify.
  • Safety Critical use cases and requirements that may inform the definition of the specification.
  • What changes to processes could be made to ease the burden of evidence gathering.
  • How UXL Foundation projects could fit into a larger SC system.

The UXL Foundation is inviting interested companies and individuals to join the SIG to help unlock the UXL Foundation projects for their safety-critical systems. The SC SIG is particularly interested in the involvement of automotive OEMs and suppliers who may be considering incorporating UXL Foundation projects in their software offerings, as well as semiconductor companies supplying heterogenous chips to SC markets.

To join the SIG, sign up at https://lists.uxlfoundation.org/groups or email Safety-Critical-SIG+subscribe@lists.uxlfoundation.org.

The UXL Foundation is a Linux Foundation and participation in the SIG is free of charge.

For more information, check GitHub – uxlfoundation/foundation.

For any question, email the group owner, Verena Beckham here.


Some SYCL SC resources:


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