Real-Time Updated on 06 January 2019 at 7:34 pm

Real-Time Lexicon

It is obvious to everyone that communication requires the use of a shared lexicon (among other communicative conceptions), especially in professional and technical discourse where accuracy and precision of concepts and terminology greatly affect the effectiveness of the discourse.

“While it appears that we can indeed think without language,
it is also the case that there are certain kinds of thinking
that are made possible by language.
Language gives us symbols we can use to fix ideas,
reflect on them and hold them up for observation.
It allows for a level of abstract reasoning
we wouldn’t have otherwise. …
We may be able to think without language,
but language lets us know that we are thinking.”

—Arika Okrent, Is it Possible to Think Without Language? MentalFloss

The book reveals in detail that unfortunately the conceptual understanding of, and lexicon for, the term “real-time” and associated terms (e.g., “hard,” “soft,” “predictable”) are largely confused in the real-time computing systems practitioner and even researcher communities.

This confusion is immediately obvious by looking at the conceptual and terminological disarray in:

  • real-time OS vendor publications
  • papers by vendors and users at the Embedded Systems Conference and in real-time related trade magazines
  • papers published in professional society (e.g., IEEE, ACM) journals and conference proceedings
  • papers in the journal Real-Time Systems
  • Wikipedia
  • Stack Exchange
  • Quora
  • Slashdot
  • dictionaries
  • others

Chapter 1 of the book (not this preview) provides examples quoted from all those sources of various ad hoc imprecise inaccurate concepts and terms used in the real-time computing field.

The book also explains the sociological and technological circumstances that led to that deplorable situation, and why they and that situation persist despite the drastic limitations imposed on what real-time computing systems can be built, and on their cost-effectiveness. (Although these circumstances and consequent unfortunate situation are not well known in that field, they are not included in this preview.)

The thoughtful methodology employed here necessitates a precise and comprehensive lexicon. The lexicon is essential to cogent reasoning about the expanse of dynamically real-time systems, and consequently also about the static special case subset.