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Master Project: Distributed Systems


Kick-off meeting
please register
Behnke [1],
Thamsen [2]


  • This project is limited to 12 students.
  • This semester's project is full.

Topic: Real-Time Applications on Embedded Devices in the IoT

This summer semester, we offer a master project around real-time applications on embedded devices in Internet of Things (IoT) scenarios.

As it stands much of the research and engineering efforts following the advent of the IoT have targeted the realization and optimization of data transfer and processing in-between edge devices and cloud platforms. In this project, we will instead take a closer look at specific IoT devices such as the ESP32 microcontroller and what challenges have to be overcome when such devices are used as edge nodes. In particular, we will take a look at challenges arising in context of real-time applications. Real-time applications can be found in situations, where periodic or event-triggered tasks control physical systems such as manufacturing plants or devices in automotive systems. In these cases, controllers run real-time operating systems that coordinate different tasks and schedule them in such a way that critical time constraints are met. This way, real-time operating systems can provide guarantees towards the timely execution of tasks affecting the physical world. However, equipping controllers with network interface cards (NICs) and connecting them to large networks in context of the IoT introduces a major source of unpredictability. Besides the overhead of maintaining a network stack on each device, incoming packets interrupt the task flow and potentially disrupt the priority and time-based schedules.

In this master project, we will evaluate the impact that network interrupts can have on embedded devices and real-time applications. That is, we will look at specific embedded devices (e.g. ESP32 microcontrollers), real-time operating systems (e.g. FreeRTOS), and IoT use cases (e.g. Industry 4.0 or Smart City applications). The project will focus on low-level programming and hardware simulation and we want to investigate measures to detect and mitigate interrupt overloads at runtime, while only minimally impacting the implemented functionalities and real-timeness of the devices.

Target Audience

Master students with solid programming skills, who would like to gain some hands-on experience in a practical project in the area of distributed and operating systems.


  • We expect participants to have a basic understanding of operating systems, computer architecture, and distributed systems and to be interested in IoT use cases (e.g. Industry 4.0, Smart cities).
  • We assume solid programming skills in at least one widely used programming language (preferably C for this project) and also expect familiarity with virtualization technologies and Linux/Unix systems.


Ilja Behnke
+49 30 314-73884
Room TEL 1203
e-mail query [3]


Lauritz Thamsen
+49 30 314-24539
Room 1210
e-mail query [4]
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