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Execution of Code Generated from a Model

The code generator produces algorithmic code as defined by your model. You can include external (for example, custom or legacy) code in a model by using techniques explained in Choose an External Code Integration Workflow.

The code generator also provides an interface that executes the generated model code. The interface and model code are compiled together to create an executable program. The next figure shows a high-level object-oriented view of the executable.

The Object-Oriented View of a Real-Time Program

In general, the conceptual design of the model execution driver does not change between the rapid prototyping and embedded style of generated code. The following sections describe model execution for single-tasking and multitasking environments both for simulation (non-real-time) and for real time. For most model code, the multitasking environment provides the most efficient model execution (that is, fastest sample rate).

The following concepts are useful in describing how model code executes.

  • Initialization: model_initialize initializes the interface code and the model code.

  • ModelOutputs: Calls blocks in your model that have a sample hit at the current time and has them produce their output. model_output can be done in major or minor time steps. In major time steps, the output is a given simulation time step. In minor time steps, the interface integrates the derivatives to update the continuous states.

  • ModelUpdate: model_update calls blocks that have a sample hit at the current point in time and has them update their discrete states or similar type objects.

  • ModelDerivatives: Calls blocks in your model that have continuous states and has them update their derivatives. model_derivatives is only called in minor time steps.

  • ModelTerminate: model_terminate terminates the program if it is designed to run for a finite time. It destroys the real-time model data structure, deallocates memory, and can write data to a file.

Program Execution

A real-time program cannot require 100% of the CPU time. This requirement provides an opportunity to run background tasks during the free time.

Background tasks include operations such as writing data to a buffer or file, allowing access to program data by third-party data monitoring tools, or updating program parameters.

It is important, however, that the program be able to preempt the background task so the model code can execute in real time.

The way the program manages tasks depends on capabilities of the environment in which it operates.

Program Timing

Real-time programs require careful timing of the task invocations (either by using an interrupt or a real-time operating system tasking primitive) so that the model code executes to completion before another task invocation occurs. The timing includes time to read and write data to and from external hardware.

The next figure illustrates interrupt timing.

Task Timing

The sample interval must be long enough to allow model code execution between task invocations.

In the figure above, the time between two adjacent vertical arrows is the sample interval. The empty boxes in the upper diagram show an example of a program that can complete one step within the interval and still allow time for the background task. The gray box in the lower diagram indicates what happens if the sample interval is too short. Another task invocation occurs before the task is complete. Such timing results in an execution error.

If the real-time program is designed to run forever (that is, the final time is 0 or infinite so that the while loop never exits), then the shutdown code does not execute.

For more information on how the timing engine works, see Absolute and Elapsed Time Computation.

External Mode Communication

External mode allows communication between the Simulink® block diagram and the standalone program that is built from the generated code. In this mode, the real-time program functions as an interprocess communication server, responding to requests from the Simulink engine.

Data Logging in Single-Tasking and Multitasking Model Execution

Configure Model for Debugging explains how you can save system states, outputs, and time to a MAT-file at the completion of the model execution. The LogTXY function, which performs data logging, operates differently in single-tasking and multitasking environments.

If you examine how LogTXY is called in the single-tasking and multitasking environments, notice that for single-tasking LogTXY is called after ModelOutputs. During this ModelOutputs call, blocks that have a hit at time t execute, whereas in multitasking, LogTXY is called after ModelOutputs(tid=0), which executes only the blocks that have a hit at time t and that have a task identifier of 0. This results in differences in the logged values between single-tasking and multitasking logging. Specifically, consider a model with two sample times, the faster sample time having a period of 1.0 second and the slower sample time having a period of 10.0 seconds. At time t = k*10, k=0,1,2... both the fast (tid=0) and slow (tid=1) blocks execute. When executing in multitasking mode, when LogTXY is called, the slow blocks execute, but the previous value is logged, whereas in single-tasking the current value is logged.

Another difference occurs when logging data in an enabled subsystem. Consider an enabled subsystem that has a slow signal driving the enable port and fast blocks within the enabled subsystem. In this case, the evaluation of the enable signal occurs in a slow task, and the fast blocks see a delay of one sample period; thus the logged values will show these differences.

To summarize differences in logged data between single-tasking and multitasking, differences will be seen when

  • A root outport block has a sample time that is slower than the fastest sample time

  • A block with states has a sample time that is slower than the fastest sample time

  • A block in an enabled subsystem where the signal driving the enable port is slower than the rate of the blocks in the enabled subsystem

For the first two cases, even though the logged values are different between single-tasking and multitasking, the model results are not different. The only real difference is where (at what point in time) the logging is done. The third (enabled subsystem) case results in a delay that can be seen in a real-time environment.

Non-Real-Time Single-Tasking Systems

This pseudocode shows the execution of a model for a non-real-time single-tasking system.

main()
{
  Initialization
  While (time < final time)
    ModelOutputs     -- Major time step.
    LogTXY           -- Log time, states and root outports.
    ModelUpdate      -- Major time step.
    Integrate        -- Integration in minor time step for 
                     -- models with continuous states.
      ModelDerivatives
      Do 0 or more
        ModelOutputs
        ModelDerivatives
      EndDo -- Number of iterations depends upon the solver
      Integrate derivatives to update continuous states.
    EndIntegrate
  EndWhile
  Termination
}

The initialization phase begins first. This consists of initializing model states and setting up the execution engine. The model then executes, one step at a time. First ModelOutputs executes at time t, then the workspace I/O data is logged, and then ModelUpdate updates the discrete states. Next, if your model has continuous states, ModelDerivatives integrates the continuous states' derivatives to generate the states for time tnew=t+h, where h is the step size. Time then moves forward to tnew and the process repeats.

During the ModelOutputs and ModelUpdate phases of model execution, only blocks that reach the current point in time execute.

Non-Real-Time Multitasking Systems

This pseudocode shows the execution of a model for a non-real-time multitasking system.

main()
{
  Initialization
  While (time < final time)
    ModelOutputs(tid=0)   -- Major time step.
    LogTXY                -- Log time, states, and root 
                          -- outports.
    ModelUpdate(tid=0)    -- Major time step.
    Integrate       -- Integration in minor time step for 
                    -- models with continuous states.
      ModelDerivatives
      Do 0 or more
        ModelOutputs(tid=0)
        ModelDerivatives
      EndDo (Number of iterations depends upon the solver.)
      Integrate derivatives to update continuous states.
    EndIntegrate
    For i=1:NumTids
      ModelOutputs(tid=i) -- Major time step.
      ModelUpdate(tid=i)  -- Major time step.
    EndFor
  EndWhile
  Termination
  }

Multitasking operation is more complex than single-tasking execution because the output and update functions are subdivided by the task identifier (tid) that is passed into these functions. This allows for multiple invocations of these functions with different task identifiers using overlapped interrupts, or for multiple tasks when using a real-time operating system. In simulation, multiple tasks are emulated by executing the code in the order that would occur if preemption did not exist in a real-time system.

Multitasking execution assumes that task rates are multiples of the base rate. The Simulink product enforces this when you create a fixed-step multitasking model. The multitasking execution loop is very similar to that of single-tasking, except for the use of the task identifier (tid) argument to ModelOutputs and ModelUpdate.

You cannot use tid values from code generated by a target file and not by Simulink Coder™. Simulink Coder tracks the use of tid when generating code for a specific subsystem or function type. When you generate code in a target file, this argument cannot be tracked because the scope does not have subsystem or function type. Therefore, tid becomes an undefined variable and your target file fails to compile.

Real-Time Single-Tasking Systems

This pseudocode shows the execution of a model in a real-time single-tasking system where the model is run at interrupt level.

rtOneStep()
{
  Check for interrupt overflow
  Enable "rtOneStep" interrupt
  ModelOutputs    -- Major time step.
  LogTXY          -- Log time, states and root outports.
  ModelUpdate     -- Major time step.
  Integrate       -- Integration in minor time step for models 
                  -- with continuous states.
     ModelDerivatives
     Do 0 or more 
       ModelOutputs
       ModelDerivatives
     EndDo (Number of iterations depends upon the solver.)
     Integrate derivatives to update continuous states.
  EndIntegrate
}

main()
{
  Initialization (including installation of rtOneStep as an 
  interrupt service routine, ISR, for a real-time clock).
  While(time < final time)
    Background task.
  EndWhile
  Mask interrupts (Disable rtOneStep from executing.)
  Complete any background tasks.
  Shutdown
}

Real-time single-tasking execution is very similar to non-real-time single-tasking execution, except that instead of free-running the code, the rt_OneStep function is driven by a periodic timer interrupt.

At the interval specified by the program's base sample rate, the interrupt service routine (ISR) preempts the background task to execute the model code. The base sample rate is the fastest in the model. If the model has continuous blocks, then the integration step size determines the base sample rate.

For example, if the model code is a controller operating at 100 Hz, then every 0.01 seconds the background task is interrupted. During this interrupt, the controller reads its inputs from the analog-to-digital converter (ADC), calculates its outputs, writes these outputs to the digital-to-analog converter (DAC), and updates its states. Program control then returns to the background task. These steps must occur before the next interrupt.

Real-Time Multitasking Systems

This pseudocode shows how a model executes in a real-time multitasking system where the model is run at interrupt level.

rtOneStep()
{
  Check for interrupt overflow
  Enable "rtOneStep" interrupt
  ModelOutputs(tid=0)     -- Major time step.
  LogTXY                  -- Log time, states and root outports.
  ModelUpdate(tid=0)      -- Major time step.
  Integrate               -- Integration in minor time step for 
                          -- models with continuous states.
     ModelDerivatives
     Do 0 or more
       ModelOutputs(tid=0)
       ModelDerivatives
     EndDo (Number of iterations depends upon the solver.)
     Integrate derivatives and update continuous states.
  EndIntegrate
  For i=1:NumTasks
    If (hit in task i)
      ModelOutputs(tid=i)
      ModelUpdate(tid=i)
    EndIf
  EndFor
}

main()
{
  Initialization (including installation of rtOneStep as an 
    interrupt service routine, ISR, for a real-time clock).
  While(time < final time)
    Background task.
  EndWhile
  Mask interrupts (Disable rtOneStep from executing.) 
  Complete any background tasks.
  Shutdown
}

Running models at interrupt level in a real-time multitasking environment is very similar to the previous single-tasking environment, except that overlapped interrupts are employed for concurrent execution of the tasks.

The execution of a model in a single-tasking or multitasking environment when using real-time operating system tasking primitives is very similar to the interrupt-level examples discussed above. The pseudocode below is for a single-tasking model using real-time tasking primitives.

tSingleRate()
{
  MainLoop:
    If clockSem already "given", then error out due to overflow.
    Wait on clockSem
    ModelOutputs            -- Major time step.
    LogTXY                  -- Log time, states and root 
                            -- outports
    ModelUpdate             -- Major time step
    Integrate               -- Integration in minor time step 
                            -- for models with continuous 
                            -- states.
      ModelDeriviatives
      Do 0 or more
        ModelOutputs
        ModelDerivatives
      EndDo (Number of iterations depends upon the solver.)
      Integrate derivatives to update continuous states.
    EndIntegrate
  EndMainLoop
}

main()
{
  Initialization
  Start/spawn task "tSingleRate".
  Start clock that does a "semGive" on a clockSem semaphore.
  Wait on "model-running" semaphore.
  Shutdown
}

In this single-tasking environment, the model executes as real-time operating system tasking primitives. In this environment, create a single task (tSingleRate) to run the model code. This task is invoked when a clock tick occurs. The clock tick gives a clockSem (clock semaphore) to the model task (tSingleRate). The model task waits for the semaphore before executing. The clock ticks occur at the fundamental step size (base rate) for your model.

Multitasking Systems Using Real-Time Tasking Primitives

This pseudocode is for a multitasking model using real-time tasking primitives.

tSubRate(subTaskSem,i)
{
  Loop:
    Wait on semaphore subTaskSem.
    ModelOutputs(tid=i)
    ModelUpdate(tid=i)
  EndLoop
}
tBaseRate()
{
  MainLoop:
    If clockSem already "given", then error out due to overflow.
    Wait on clockSem
    For i=1:NumTasks
      If (hit in task i)
        If task i is currently executing, then error out due to 
          overflow.
        Do a "semGive" on subTaskSem for task i.
      EndIf
    EndFor
    ModelOutputs(tid=0)    -- major time step.
    LogTXY                 -- Log time, states and root outports.
    ModelUpdate(tid=0)     -- major time step.
    Loop:                  -- Integration in minor time step for 
                           -- models with continuous states.
      ModelDeriviatives
      Do 0 or more
        ModelOutputs(tid=0)
        ModelDerivatives
      EndDo (number of iterations depends upon the solver).
      Integrate derivatives to update continuous states.
    EndLoop
  EndMainLoop
}
main()
{
  Initialization
  Start/spawn task "tSubRate".
  Start/spawn task "tBaseRate".

  Start clock that does a "semGive" on a clockSem semaphore.
  Wait on "model-running" semaphore.
  Shutdown
}

In this multitasking environment, the model is executed using real-time operating system tasking primitives. Such environments require several model tasks (tBaseRate and several tSubRate tasks) to run the model code. The base rate task (tBaseRate) has a higher priority than the subrate tasks. The subrate task for tid=1 has a higher priority than the subrate task for tid=2, and so on. The base rate task is invoked when a clock tick occurs. The clock tick gives a clockSem to tBaseRate. The first thing tBaseRate does is give semaphores to the subtasks that have a hit at the current point in time. Because the base rate task has a higher priority, it continues to execute. Next it executes the fastest task (tid=0), consisting of blocks in your model that have the fastest sample time. After this execution, it resumes waiting for the clock semaphore. The clock ticks are configured to occur at the fundamental step size for your model.

Rapid Prototyping and Embedded Model Execution Differences

The rapid prototyping program framework provides a common application programming interface (API) that does not change between model definitions.

The Embedded Coder® product provides a different framework called the embedded program framework. The embedded program framework provides an optimized API that is tailored to your model. When you use the embedded style of generated code, you are modeling how you would like your code to execute in your embedded system. Therefore, the definitions defined in your model should be specific to your embedded targets. Items such as the model name, parameter, and signal storage class are included as part of the API for the embedded style of code.

One major difference between the rapid prototyping and embedded style of generated code is that the latter contains fewer entry-point functions. The embedded style of code can be configured to have only one function, model_step.

Thus, model execution code eliminates Loop...EndLoop statements and groups ModelOutputs, LogTXY, and ModelUpdate into a single statement, model_step.

For more information about how generated embedded code executes, see Configure C Code Generation for Model Entry-Point Functions.

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