A system for visualizing and debugging distributed real-time systems with monitoring support

Jeffrey J.P. Tsai, Yao Dong Bi, Steve J.H. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Based on system execution traces, this paper presents a dynamic approach for visualizing and debugging timing constraint violations occurring in distributed real-time systems. The system execution traces used for visualization and debugging are collected during the execution of a target program in such a way that its run-time behavior is not interfered with. This is made possible by our non-interference distributed real-time monitoring system which is capable of collecting system's run-time traces by monitoring and fetching the data passing through the internal buses of a target system. After the run-time data has been collected, the visualization and debugging activities then proceeded. The timing behavior of a target program is visualized as two graphs - the Colored Process Interaction Graph (CPIG) and the Dedicated Colored Process Interaction Graph (DCPIG). The CPIG depicts the timing behavior of a target program by graphically representing interprocess relationships during their communication and synchronization. The DCPIG can reduce visualization and debugging complexity by focusing on the portion of a target program which has direct or indirect correspondence with an imposed timing constraint. With the help of the CPIG and the DCPIG, a timing analysis method is used for computing the system-related timing statistics and analyzing the causes of timing constraint violations. A visualization and debugging system, called VDS, has been implemented using OpenWindows on Sun-4's/UNIX workstations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-400
Number of pages46
JournalInternational Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996


  • Debugging
  • Distributed real-time systems
  • Non-determinism
  • Non-interference monitoring system
  • Timing analysis
  • Timing constraints
  • Visualization


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