C++ Performance Benchmarking in Embedded Systems

C++ Performance Benchmarking in Embedded Systems

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By Shane Garcia

In the fast-evolving landscape of embedded systems – performance benchmarking stands as a strategic imperative. That said, C++, which is critical in developing high-performance embedded systems, holds significant sway over the system’s efficacy, responsiveness, and resource utilisation.

In this article, we will dive deeper into the role of C++ performance benchmarking in embedded systems and optimisation for peak efficiency across diverse platforms.

What are Embedded Systems?

An embedded system- a combination of software and micro-processor-based hardware- is a small computer integrated into a larger mechanical or electronic system. It’s dedicated to performing specific tasks. Their dedicated functionality, real-time operation, and integration into hardware components make them an integral part of the automotive, healthcare electronics, and automation industries.

Microprocessor/microcontroller, the key component of an embedded system runs pre-programmed software to ensure specific functions are performed, controlled, and monitored precisely. These functions include device control, machinery management, sensor data processing, etc.

Characteristics of Embedded Systems

An embedded system has the following features:

  • Dedicated Functionality: As we have already stated, an embedded system is optimised for a specific and predefined task(s).
  • Resource Constraints: Since embedded systems are part of a large computer system and are dedicated to a specific task, they come with limited resources. For example, often, these embedded systems come with small processing power.
  • Real-time Operations: Most embedded systems are programmed to execute a task in real time. For applications that need immediate response, such as automotive systems, medical devices, etc.
  • Stability: One of the key prerequisites of embedded systems is stability. Stable embedded systems can perform optimally in any harsh environment, over time.

Key Metrics for Benchmarking C++ Performance

Benchmarking C++ performance in embedded systems requires you to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of C++ codes in terms of key metrics while operating on various hardware systems. The key metrics for benchmarking C++ performance in embedded systems include:

  • Execution Speed: The speed at which C++ code runs on the embedded system. System performance and real-time responsiveness of the embedded system should be evaluated as well.
  • Memory Consumption: Assess the memory the C++ code consumes to ensure optimal performance, resource utilisation, and efficient memory management.
  • Code Size: Assessing the code size of a C++ program in an embedded system means calculating the memory the compiled code occupies on the system. Shortening the code size allows developers to minimise the memory footprint, thus enhancing the efficiency, responsiveness, and performance of the system.
  • Resource Utilisation: Another key metric to benchmark C++ coding in embedded systems is evaluating the resource consumption – CPU, storage, etc., – by the dedicated C++ application. It helps track down performance bottlenecks and thus enabling to mitigating them as early as possible for augmented performance.
  • Latency: Another critical factor to benchmark C++ performance is to assess how fast an embedded system can respond to input stimuli and generate corresponding output or action based on it. Latency evaluation is vital to ensure precise system operation where real-time response is required.
  • Power Consumption: Calculate the power the C++ application consumes in an embedded system. Thus, you can extend battery life and optimise performance.

How to Benchmark C++ Performance for Embedded Systems

  • Define Your Metrics: Start with setting the key performance metrics you want to track for benchmarking how effectively your C++ code executes a task in an embedded system.
  • Leverage Benchmarking Tools: Second, carefully select your benchmarking tools, such as benchmarking frameworks, performance assessment tools, profiling solutions, etc., that go with your embedded system.
  • Develop Benchmarking Tests: Next up, design test cases specific to your intended workloads. To measure performance efficiently, and precisely, make sure these tests focus on the essential elements of your codebase.
  • Compile and Deploy: Now, compile, optimise, and deploy your C++ code on your target hardware system.
  • Measure Performance: Now, it’s time to run the designed test and record the performance metrics of the C++ code in your embedded system. Note data on speed, memory usage, and other key metrics.
  • Analyse and Optimise: Investigate the benchmark outcomes you got from measuring the metrics. It will help you pinpoint [performance bottlenecks and the areas that need tweaking to optimise code efficacy. Once you have all the essential data, modify the code to enhance the performance of the embedded system. Ensure no modification for code optimisation affects system stability/functionality.
  • Iterate and Validate: Iterate the benchmarking process by making changes, re-running tests, and validating the impact on performance. Ensure that optimizations do not compromise system stability or functionality.
  • Document Results: Document the benchmarking process, results, optimizations made, and lessons learned to track improvements and facilitate future benchmarking efforts.

Best Practices for C++ Performance Benchmarking in Embedded Systems

Adopting the industry-recognised best practices is critical when it comes to code optimisation, memory management, and algorithm design for C++ in embedded systems. These best help developers By adhering to industry standards, leveraging development tools, and implementing tailored optimization techniques, developers can fine-tune C++ code for optimal performance and seamless integration in embedded environments:

  • Define Your Objectives: Set your goals and metrics based on the specific tasks you want the embedded system to accomplish. Establishing your objectives would help guide the benchmarking process.
  • Use Realistic Workloads: Make sure the benchmark testing process you devise mirrors the typical usage scenarios and the requirements of the embedded system. This way, you can measure the performance metrics just right.
  • Consider Hardware Variability: Consider the variations and limitations in hardware configurations across different types of embedded systems to ensure your tests are compatible and relevant with each.
  • Optimise Code Efficiency: Adhere to the best practices of C++ programming language, for example, reducing code size, limiting memory consumption, and streamlining algorithms. Thus, you can ensure your C++ code performs optimally in the embedded environments.
  • Monitor Key Metrics: Now, Enable regular monitoring of key performance metrics – encoding executing speed, latency, resource usage, etc., – to pinpoint the areas that need improvements for effective performance tracking.
  • Iterative Testing and Validation: The last step is to iterate and re-test performance after each code modification. to validate the outcomes. Iterative testing validates the outcomes, augments system performance, and streamlines benchmarking strategies, thus, fortifying code efficiency.
Shane Garcia


3 Thames Street BOLTON, BL1 6NN

01204 456413



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