Definition of Software Architecture in Support of Virtual Instrumentation

Period of Performance: 09/27/2000 - 03/27/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Bco, Inc.
799 Middlesex Turnpike
Billerica, MA 01821
Principal Investigator


This SBIR's objective is to derive functional and interface requirements for the Resource Adapter Interface (RAI) within the Standard Environment for Test as defined in the Automatic Test Systems (ATS) Subdomain Annex of the Joint Technical Architecture (JTA), Version 3.1, dated 31 March 2000. It will establish a preliminary architecture and interface requirements for the software layer between the Test Program Set (TPS) software and ATS instrumentation, while providing the necessary level of independence between these two ATS elements. This increased level of independence will enhance TPS transportability and asset interchangeability and dramatically impact the total life cycle cost of ATS/TPS ownership.Current industry initiatives are attempting to remove the test hardware dependency from test languages by providing better signal modeling capability (such as ATLAS 2000) and attempting to specify standard semantic interfaces for test assets (such as IVI and IVI-MSS). This SBIR builds on these by defining a compatible architecture, while addressing the specific issues related to major DoD ATS acquisitions. The RAI unites the signal-based world and the instrument-based world, through a layered architecture which provides adaptation layers to both the applications and the instrument layers separated by a decoupling agent.This SBIR will have the benefit of reducing the total life cycle cost of ATS/TPS ownership as well as providing enhanced test system capability and flexibility by addressing the issues of interoperability and interchangeability. It will help address instrument obsolescence issues in both DoD and commercial ATS as well as address issues related to the DoD trend towards the use of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) equipment. It will reduce ATS development costs and also provide more efficient utilization and decreased maintenance costs of test resources developed utilizing the RAI architecture.Commercial applications include: (1) ATS development compliant with the RAI standard; (2) RAI related software products including a baseline system covering a specific set of instrumentation and test functionality as well as available options for additional capability, additional instrumentation, and instrument simulation; (3) RAI compliant applications providing complex stimulus/measurement functionality utilizing multiple COTS instrumentation; and (4) RAI related services such as verification of new instrument compliance and verification of instrument interchangeability.