Overview of the research program

Many modern industrial systems fall in the realm of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) because of the tight interaction between computation, communication and control elements (the cyber part), and physical processes such as motion, heating/cooling, vibration, wear and tear (the physical part) within these systems.

Traditional design methods involve multiple, often isolated, design phases involving different disciplines (mechanical, electrical, control and software engineering). Requirements related to cost, quality and reliability enforce designs with over-provisioning of platform resources (computation, communication, memory) by large quality and safety margins at each phase to be able to fulfill system-level requirements in the worst-case scenarios. Due to increasingly stringent cost and resource constraints these overly conservative designs are no longer sustainable. As a consequence, there is an urgent need for integrative design trajectories that allow for tradeoffs between cost, quality and reliability coping with the tight coordination between the cyber and the physical components. This gives rise to the need for models that accurately capture the interaction between various components (e.g., software, electronics, mechanics, algorithms, power, energy, etc.) and novel design methods that exploit the artifacts of the underlying platforms. This requires the integration of a number of scientific disciplines that have predominantly developed independently.

oCPS research methodology

High-level view of CPS consisting of three abstractions: The platform is consisting of hardware (computation, communication and memory resources) and software (tasks, messages, mapping and scheduling). The physical system represents the physical processes in the particular application at hand (e.g., automotive/energy/robotics/healthcare systems). Functionality has to take into account the platform (cyber) and the physics (physical) as well as non-functional requirements such as cost, quality and reliability (optimization goals). The functionality is realized by model-driven synthesis of platform components (software and/or hardware). Sensors and actuators establish the interaction between functionality and the physical system. Models of the physics, the functionality and the platform at a variety of abstraction levels play a key role.


Research methodology: The key scientific objective of the oCPS program is to enable the design of a new generation of cost-effective, quality-driven and reliable CPS by developing model-driven design methods that capture the interaction between different models at various design layers, that take into account physical constraints and processes, and that introduce platform-awareness at all levels. Starting from the societal need for high-quality, low-cost, reliable products in a variety of CPS application areas, we identified a number of key technical challenges. The technical challenges are translated into five research lines (RLs) that will be investigated by fifteen Early Stage Researchers in the oCPS program.

Research lines

RL1: Multi-Domain Modelling and Architecting
RL2: Resource-Constrained Design
RL3: Platform-Aware Control Systems
RL4: Cost-effective and Reliable Synthesis of Control Software
RL5: Distributed Coordination