The Trader project ran from 2004 until 2008.

This is an archived page.

Trader: Reliability of High Volume Consumer Products

Modern technical systems such as household goods, DVD players, PCs, medical X-ray imaging, printers, advanced car vehicles, and airplanes rely increasingly on software. Complex systems cannot be built without software accomplishing their integration. Embedded computer programs monitor the whole system and take care that the system accomplishes more than its parts would. In such software-intensive systems reliability is of prime importance.

A number of technical trends in embedded systems press a need for better development methods resulting in reliable products.

  • Complexity increase: the extent and complexity of embedded systems and software has been exponentially increasing in recent years and there seems no end in sight for this trend.

  • Product life cycle decrease: the innovation cycle for these products is decreasing continuously and has in many sectors now come down to a few months.

  • Open Systems: embedded systems are opened to the outside world as a result of which security, reliability, and availability are emerging problems. They become more open in two ways:

    • They will not be solely developed by just one manufacturer. Increasingly, the provider of the basic functionality will be host to third parties who will add their own functionality.

    • They will, during their lifetimes, become involved in networked environments that affect these systems in ways that are not foreseen during their creation.


It is the objective of the Trader product to develop methods and tools for ensuring reliability of consumer electronic products. This should result in minimizing product failures that are exposed to the user. We use cases from Philips Semiconductors’ Innovation Center Eindhoven in the area of digital television. The Trader project has the following objectives in mind:

  • Ensure reliability by studying and show proof of concept of methods to be applied at design time, test time, and product run-time.

  • Avoid user frustration by applying user-centric approaches. Ensure reliability not only in a single product, but also in a complete product line.

Partners and publication

A range of partners carries out the research project. These partners are chosen in such a way that the requisite fields of expertise (e.g. system architecture, software and hardware mechanisms, development processes, and development tooling), are present. The project is carried out under the project management responsibility of the Embedded Systems Institute. For a considerable amount of time, the project participants are located at the Embedded Systems Institute.

Trader is a collaboration of the industrial and academic partners: NXP (previously Philips Semiconductors), Philips Consumer Electronics, NXP Research (previously Philips Research Laboratories), TASS, Design Technology Institute (a joint research institute of the Eindhoven University of Technology and the National University of Singapore), Delft University of Technology, University of Twente, University of Leiden, IMEC, and the Embedded Systems Institute. The project is partly funded by the Dutch Government.

The results are published in the Traderbook, Trader: Reliability of High Volume Consumer Products, that can be downloaded here.