A bit of History
More than 25 years busy in real-time systems
Founder of Luperco is Luc Perneel, who started developing software when he was around 13 years old. At that time his father bought a Commodore PET 8032SK for his company. This computer was based on a MOS 6502 CPU at 1 MHz with 32 KB RAM. Remark that at that time a spreadsheet (VisiCalc) existed already for this computer!
He started with writing an invoicing system in Basic, which was even sold to a couple of companies. Doing maintenance on this software, he learned the hard way that how he was writing software was not good. As such he learned from his faults and started to develop software in a much more structured way.
However, Basic is a bit slow, surely if you want to make a game for yourself… So he started to learn the processor architecture and the assembler code. He made his own assembler/disassembler in Basic and now he could write some really fast routines! At that time he experimented a lot and learned already how hardware and software interacts.
He entered the university (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) to become Master in Science. At the university he studied Electronics. Although he could have chosen as well the more software driven computer science department, he wanted to learn new things and thus electronics seemed to be more of a challenge to him.
After finishing his studies and a year of military duty as reserve officer in the Belgian Air Force, he found his first job at RTUSI (which stands for Real-Time User Support International, currently named Dedicated-Systems Experts).
This company was founded by Professor Martin Timmerman, who gave courses at the Belgian Royal-Military Academy. Currently he is as well Professor at the VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) where he gives courses in embedded systems.
He first started with some follow up on a research project done for the Phd of Frank Gielen (who is today professor at the Ghent University). This was on an expert tool to trace / analyze a running multi processor system (a quad Motorola 8800) and compare it with the requirements so to proof that real-time deadlines were kept.
After different embedded projects, he became the project lead for the data interface front end assembly (further called DIFA). DIFA is the part used to test and validate the equipment for the European Columbus module of the International Space Station. It is directly coupled to the equipment to validate and as such has to follow all the protocols and real-time requirements as the on-board equipment. It provides support for all on board communication links like MIL-1553-STD, TAXI, flight Ethernet LAN, proprietary serial interfaces and so one.
He was responsible for the whole project, from the analysis phase up to the maintenance phase. He was awarded by the ESA after he discovered a specification bug in an early phase of the project.
DIFA is still in use today for validating equipment/experiments send to the International Space Station. Further it is used as well during astronaut training, as it can simulate the whole space station. For instance the astronaut can couple its laptop to the system and check the status of IIS. Of course, errors can be simulated (like overheating systems) so astronauts can learn to take correct decisions.
In 2002 he founded Luperco, which still emphasis on the core of real-time systems. As the hardware systems become more-and-more complex, the software impact becomes major. To be able to build performant multi-core systems, you need to understand all these internals. This both at the hardware as at the operating system level. It is this combination of hardware/software knowledge that makes it possible to solve difficult issues using simple solutions.