System performance focuses on quantitative design criteria for embedded applications and their resource utilisation in trade-off with cost. Covering a broad range of extra-functional criteria, system performance may, for example, relate to perceived quality of functional outcomes, timing behaviour, storage space and bandwidth utilization, energy consumption and heat dissipation. Such cross-cutting criteria are among the most important ones for embedded systems as they are often a key selling factor.
Performance criteria are either expressed as constraints or as optimization objectives. Design for system performance focuses on satisfying the (often conflicting) extra-functional requirements and is determined by a complex coordination and balancing of inter-related events in subsystems and components. Achieving the desired system performance involves trade-offs between all disciplines involved in the design.
The outcomes of the TNO-ESI research programme in this field are architectural principles that focus on prevention of performance bottlenecks and proven methods and techniques for design-space exploration with design-time qualification of performance criteria. These outcomes can be used in a wide variety of application areas and lead to more reliable and robust products. The long-term goal is to realize multidisciplinary design approaches that realize full 'performance-by-construction'.