Overview of the Ptolemy Project

Edward A. Lee

Technical Memorandum No. UCB/ERL M03/25, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA, July 2, 2003.



The Ptolemy Project is an informal group of researchers that is part of Chess (the center for hybrid and embedded software systems) at U.C. Berkeley; see "Acknowledgements" on page 28 for a list of participants. This project conducts foundational and applied research in software based design techniques for embedded systems. Ptolemy II is the current software infrastructure of the Ptolemy Project. For the participants in the Ptolemy Project, Ptolemy II is first and foremost a laboratory for experimenting with design techniques. It is published freely in open-source form. Distribution of open-source software complements more traditional publication media, and serves as a clear, unambiguous, and complete description of our research results. Also, the open architecture and open source encourages researchers to build their own methods, leveraging and extending the core infrastructure provided by the software. This creates a community where much of the dialog is through the software. In addition, the freely available software encourages designers to try out the new design techniques that are introduced and give feedback to the Ptolemy Project. This helps guide further research. Finally, the open source software encourages commercial providers of software tools to commercialize the research results, which then helps to maximize the impact of the work.

Ptolemy II is the third generation of design software to emerge from this group, with each generation bringing a new set of problems being addressed, new emphasis, and (largely) a new group of contributors.