Product Line Hall of Fame

Toshiba: Software Product Line for Electric Power Generation Plant Monitoring and Control

Toshiba’s Power System Company produces power generation, transmission and distribution equipment, and provides supports for customers with capabilities ranging from power plant construction to management and operation. In the 1970s, Toshiba realized an integrated concept for Electric Power Generation Plant Monitoring and Control (EPG M&C) systems, and developed an innovative software product line that delivers comprehensive EPG M&C software for thermal and nuclear power plants with capabilities ranging from 600 to 1,200 MW.

EPG M&C software monitors plant operation, calculates performance, and manages control functions and activities. Dedicated software for each type of power plant is configured on top of the software framework and platform of the specified operating system and middleware.

For an average scale power plant, approximately three million steps of source program in the EPG M&C system process about 24,000 points of input data. The EPG M&C software product line has been adopted in more than 150 real projects since 1976.

In the EPG M&C software product line, variable and non-variable software components are separated. Variable components are specified using fill-in-the-format-type DSL (domain-specific language). This approach supports individual management of variable parts and software logic parts across the period from manufacturing to system maintenance. A code-generator converts described formats to the codes that are to be interpreted by the software framework mounted on top of software platform. The role of the software framework is to keep the code-generator independent from the variation in the platform. The fundamentals of these technologies are integrated in the patent which was registered in Japan (1063709), in USA (4328556), and in Canada (1137167).

For instance, “Automatic plant operation” of EPG is achieved via the “plant table,” a sequence of decision tables (a type of DSL) representing logical combinations of plant conditions and operation procedures. Software processes “plant table” decisions via an on-line interpreter system. And the “plant table” database is supported by a custom maintenance tool.

Toshiba has consistently refined and upgraded EPG M&C software and software product line, particularly since the 1990s, when the software components were reconstructed and a standardized graphical user interface was introduced, while the original forms of fundamental software architecture has been retained. Expansions of core assets have shaped a large-scale software configuration management system supporting highly efficient system design, manufacture and maintenance.

References

Yoshihiro Matsumoto. Experience of a Software Factory from Domain Preparation to Product Line Adoption

Yoshihiro Matsumoto.  “A Guide for Management and Financial Controls of Product Lines,"
 11th Software Product Line Conference 2007.

S. Totsuka, et al."Power Generation Monitoring and Control Software PDM," World Software Quality Conference, 2000.

K. Kawai. "Knowledge Engineering in Power-Plant Control and Operation," Control Engineering Practice 4, 1996

Yoshihiro Matsumoto. “Toshiba Fuchu Software Factory," Modern Software Engineering ed. by P. A. Ng and R. T. Yeh, pp.479-501, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York (1990).

Yoshihiro Matsumoto. "A Software Factory, An Overall Approach to Software Production," Software Reusability ed. by P. Freeman, IEEE Computer Society, March 1987.

M. Itoh, H. Hayakawa, H. Kawahara, T. Neda, et al. “Application of Process Computers and Color CRT Displays in the Plant Control Room of BWR,"  IAEA Specialist Meeting, 1982.

T. Neda, K. Fujii, S. Takamiya, O. Suto, et al. "BWR Plant Advanced Central Control Panel (PODIA)," IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium, 1982.

H. Kawahara, T. Neda, et al. "Recent Computerized Power Generation Plant Automation and Advanced Man-Machine Interface System," IFAC Symposium, 1977.

S. Tanaka, Y. Kogure, T. Minoura, et al. "New Concept Software System for Power Generation Plant Computer Control (COPOS)," IEEE P.I.C.A Conference, 1975.

 

About This Product Line

For its product line for electric power generation plant monitoring and control, Toshiba was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 12th International Software Product Line Conference (SPLC 2008).

Read the Toshiba press release on forbes.com.

Software Engineering Institute link to the Software Engineering Institute link to Carnegie Mellon University