TRON Project Leader's Opinion

Ken Sakamura

Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University of Tokyo

Every year, June marks the beginning of the fiscal year at the TRON Association, which has become the center for the promotion of the TRON Project. This year the ordinary general meeting was held on May 31, and [based on the results of the meeting] it came about that the TRON Association will promote the TRON Project via a new set-up from June. Up to the now, the Association has put effort into the task of developing the pieces that serve as the parts in the so-called individual subprojects, but moving one step closer to the ultimate objective of the TRON Project, we have finally begun development of embedded systems in which we connect these together with a network.

Today, it has become widely acknowledged that embedded systems are on a par with or more important than personal computers. At present, large numbers of embedded systems and things one could call intelligent objects, including even those for consumer use such home appliances, have appeared in the world. These are in accord with our original estimation, which is gratifying, but, as for the next stage, we can think of directions in which they will be connected via networks and exchange data with each other, or in which we will connect the subsystems among themselves and construct a cooperative distributed system.

As for networks, today we do not have the option of not using the Internet network that has been arranged to the present extent. However, when we utilize the Internet, the biggest problem is that we are defenseless without security. Because not using the Internet that has become world infrastructure is difficult to conceive, it is probably without a doubt that system development in the direction of how to make the Internet into a high security network will come into vogue.

In the TRON Project, we are newly advocating and have begun developing technology to move contents safely on networks with incomplete security. This is eTRON, namely, entity-TRON. By means of this, we will be able to securely exchange on networks intangible assets, including such things as currency values and contents. Another thing--and this has been said to be a problem with ITRON and the like, but because we have pressed forward with "loose standards" up to now as a popularization policy--is the fact that there has been one distribution of middleware that runs on platforms up to now due to fine differences in the individual implementations. In the future, although the OS kernel will also be important, beginning with peripherals, the network, security, user interfaces, etc., etc., various types of middleware will be indispensable. Therefore, with the aim of improving the distribution of middleware in the future, we will spread a common platform called T-Engine. In other words, moving from loose standards to slightly strengthened standards, we will facilitate the distribution of middleware on a reference platform based on a hardware board called T-Engine. It was thus decided by the Project Promotion Committee in June.

Even for Cho Kanji/BTRON, there is rising acknowledgement of it as a light platform that operates with limited resources, and as a result application development has become active. Be on the lookout for new developments in the TRON Project later in the 21st century.

The above opinion piece by TRON Project Leader Ken Sakamura appeared on page 1 of Vol. 70 of TRONWARE. It was translated and loaded onto this page with the permission of Personal Media Corporation.

Copyright © 2001 Personal Media Corporation

Copyright © 2001 Sakamura Laboratory, University Museum, University of Tokyo