WELL DONE, INTEL®!
Over the years I’ve read lots of datasheets. They can sometimes be heavy on marketing buzzwords and prone to sweeping statements that oversell their solutions and gloss over gaps. I read this new Solution Brief from Intel and it stopped me in my tracks. This is the best datasheet I have seen in years. This document lays out the flight safety evidence pack (FSEP) that Intel has created for their Denverton processor. They explain in plain language why the pack was created, for whom and the exact safety standard it applies to. For years Intel have closely guarded their intellectual property which has hampered the use of their processors in aviation. This FSEP overturns that reputation. But there is more: Intel goes further and targets this evidence pack at achieving safety certification of a multi-core processor. Multicore certification is the Holy Grail of the aviation safety industry—a goal everyone is working toward, but at the time of writing, remains unachieved.
KEY ASPECTS OF THE BRIEF
In this Solution Brief, Intel describes the Flight Safety Evidence Pack (FSEP) they have created to assist aerospace suppliers achieve certification. The document, Airworthiness Enablement of Systems Using Intel® Multi-Core Processors, is interesting for three reasons:
- It is the first time Intel has created safety evidence for avionics systems. That is, systems certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) that require DO-254 artifacts for complex electronic hardware and DO-178 artifacts for complex software. Intel processors have been used in functional safety applications for years, systems that have attained certification to IEC 61508 and ISO 26262 standards for industrial and automotive safety. The difference is that the DO-254 avionics safety standard is more stringent necessitating Intel engage an FAA Designated Engineering Representative (DER) to map IEC61508 and ISO 26262 onto DO-254 to find the gaps.
- The FSEP is for a multi-core processor. This is significant because as yet, no multicore safety critical avionics systems exist. Multicore processors expose interference channels present in the hardware that, if not robustly mitigated, are catastrophic for safety-critical real-time systems. The challenge of safety certifying multicore systems is well known in the avionics community. Intel’s FSEP covers shared resource management to address CAST-32A multicore certification requirements. It also includes hardware reliability, single event effect (SEE), failure mode (FMEDA) and proven in use data.
- The Solution Brief is specific about the project the FSEP was created for. It describes that the artifacts were created for use by Lockheed Martin for their certification of the Intel Atom C3708 (Denverton) multicore processor onboard the F-35 fighter aircraft. It describes the entire solution stack, including our very own LYNX MOSA.ic for Avionics software platform, used to meet DO-178C certification. Lynx provides:
- FAA AC 20-148 Reusable Software Component (RSC) certified real-time operating system (RTOS)
- DO-178C DAL A RTOS and network stack certification evidence
- Intel-specific CAST-32A multi-core certification support
Learn more about the LYNX MOSA.ic™ development and integration framework and about how LYNX MOSA.ic uniquely leverages Intel processors. You can also visit our Learning Center to discover how LYNX MOSA.ic is uniquely suited to deliver the benefits of the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) for defense systems.
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