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Current Projects

CPSE Labs – CPS Engineering Labs Expediting and accelerating the realization of cyber-physical systems

From February 2015 to January 2017
Project Leader(s): Prof. John Fitzgerald
Staff: Dr. Claire Ingram,  Dr. Ken Pierce, Jon Warwick

Smart cyber-physical systems (CPS) are considered to be the next revolution in ICT with lots of game-changing business potential for integrated services and products. Mastering the engineering of complex and trustworthy CPS is key to implementing CPS-based business models. Current CPS, however, are often engineered and maintained at very high cost and sometimes with unknown risks, and recent technological progress from R&D projects is not readily available to most innovators.

The CPS Engineering Labs (CPSE Labs) therefore equips innovators – businesses, researchers, and students – with CPS engineering infrastructure, knowledge, and tools for realizing novel CPS-based products and services, with the explicit goal of expediting and accelerating the realization of smart CPS. The CPSE Labs build upon existing R&D centres – in Madrid, Munich, Oldenburg, Newcastle, Stockholm, and Toulouse – and turn these already excellent regional clusters into world-class hotspots for CPS engineering. The design centers develop and maintain a common strategic innovation agenda for building up novel and complete CPS value chains. Based on this strategy the CPSE Labs build up and maintain a portfolio of added-value experiments.

Experiments are focused (3-6 partners) and fast-track (12-18 months) and they have a clear innovation objective; they build upon results and achievements from large-scale national and European projects on the rigorous design of embedded systems and CPS. Experience gained from experiments, validation results, and best practices, cross-cutting engineering principles that underpin the integration of cyber and physical elements of CPS are continuously integrated and disseminated by the CPSE Labs. For more information please visit the project website

INTO-CPS – INtegrated TOol chain for model-based design of CPSs

From January 2015 to December 2017
Project Leader(s): Prof. John Fitzgerald
Staff: Dr. Carl Gamble, Dr. Ken Pierce, Dr. Richard Payne

The aim of the INTO-CPS project is to create an integrated tool chain for comprehensive model-based design of Cyber- Physical Systems (CPSs). The tool chain will support the multidisciplinary, collaborative modelling of CPSs from requirements, through design, down to realisation in hardware and software. This will enable traceability at all stages of the development.

INTO-CPS will support the holistic modelling of CPSs, allowing system models to be built and analysed that would otherwise not be possible using standalone tools. We will integrate existing industry-strength tools with high Technology Readiness Levels (TRL 6–9) in their application domains. The solution will be based centrally around Functional Mockup Interface (FMI)-compatible co-simulation. The project focuses on the pragmatic integration of these tools, making extensions in areas where a need has been recognised. The tool chain will be underpinned by a well-founded semantic foundations that ensures the results of analysis can be trusted. The tool chain will provide powerful analysis techniques for CPSs, including connection to SysML; generation and static checking of FMI interfaces; model checking; Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL) and Software-in-the-Loop (SiL) simulation, supported by code generation. The tool chain will allow for both Test Automation (TA) and Design Space Exploration (DSE) of CPSs. The INTO-CPS technologies will be accompanied by a comprehensive set of method guidelines that describe how to adopt the INTO-CPS approach, lowering entry barriers for CPS development. The tool chain will be tested with case studies in railways, agriculture, building and automotive.

The consortium has 4 academic and 7 industrial partners. The industrial partners comprise both tool vendors and case study owners. The INTO-CPS technology will enable experimenting with design alternatives enabling radical innovation where the overall concept is right first time, even when hardware prototypes does not yet exists.  For more information please visit the project website.

ROAD2CPS – Strategic action for future CPS through roadmaps, impact multiplication and constituency building

From February 2015 to January 2017
Project Leader(s): Prof. John Fitzgerald
Staff: Dr. Zoe Andrews, Dr. Claire Ingram

The miniaturisation of sensing, actuating, and computing components together with the increasing number of interacting systems in strongly connected environments, and the growing complexity of such systems have triggered a paradigm shift. CPS concepts address challenges for system implementation such as increasing complexity and flexibility. These challenges and the need to optimise performance and comply with essential requirements like safety and security raise many questions that are partially addressed by current research in areas such as transport, health, production, smart grids and smart cities already. Nevertheless, there is still a huge gap between theoretical concepts, technical developments, and successful application, as well as considerable differences with regard to propagation and maturity of CPS between application domains and along the value chain. Strategic action is needed to bring the relevant stakeholders together and to facilitate mutually beneficial collaborations between them.

Road2CPS has been conceived to respond to this situation by • Analysing impact from past and ongoing projects, identifying gaps and bridging efforts towards impact multiplication • Developing technology, application and innovation strategy roadmaps for CPS to serve as a catalyst for early adoption of CPS technologies • Enhancing CPS implementation and exposing exploitation opportunities via case studies • Developing recommendations for future research priorities and implementation strategies • Building a CPS constituency – bringing together key players into targeted task forces to contribute to the Road2CPS action plan. This will provide European organisations with the direction required to establish their future visions of CPS environments, supporting their efforts to stay at the forefront of new developments and preparing them for future challenges in the industrial application of CPSs; thus reinforcing the leading position of the European industry in CPS.

For more information please click here

Taming Concurrency

From May 2013 to April 2017
Project Leader(s): Prof. Cliff Jones
Sponsors: EPSRC

Computer programs are notoriously difficult to perfect (everyone has experienced some form of inconvenience from “bugs”) and even if this situation is beginning to come under control, it is at enormous cost. One reason for the high development cost of software is that errors made early in the design of a system can lay undetected until that system is tested – or even worse, used by customers. Correcting errors at such late stages is extremely expensive because so much work has to be repeated. So-called “formal methods” were first deployed on safety-critical software but are becoming more and more cost-effective because their use throughout design can drastically reduce the “scrap and rework” that comes from late detection of design mistakes. Formal methods make this possible because they use formal notations for specifying what should be built and thus offer a notion of correctness for each design step. Verifying design decisions becomes a proof process that can be helped by appropriate theorem proving software. Unfortunately, just as real progress is being made (both with general engineering practices and with the application of formal methods), separate commercial developments are increasing the challenges enormously. The general direction of new difficulties is “concurrency”. Programs that are concurrent have to run in contexts which interfere with their progress. Concurrency can come from a desire for better performance, from use of embedded programs in conjunction with physical devices such as cars and planes, or from the use of the latest hardware designs that are built from many processors. Traditional engineering approaches, and even many modern automatic tools for detecting errors in software, are not going to suffice for the world of massive concurrency because the number of execution paths is astronomically large when processes can interfere with each other. Fortunately, there is research (in which UK researchers are at the forefront) for reasoning both about where interference is absent and/or constrained. These research avenues, however, need to be brought together and tool support must be implemented before they are usable by engineers. These are the expected outputs of “Taming Concurrency”.

TAMS4CPS – Trans Atlantic Modelling and Simulation for Cyber-Physical Systems

From February 2015 to January 2017
Project Leader(s): Prof. John Fitzgerald
Staff: Dr. Zoe Andrews

Smart systems, in which sophisticated software/hardware is embedded in physical systems are part of everyday life. From simple products with embedded decision making software to massive systems in which hundreds of systems each with hundreds or thousands of embedded processors, interoperate, the growth of cyber physical systems (CPS) is likely to accelerate. For Europe to benefit from this expansion, while avoiding the pitfalls that such complexity creates, there must be advances in the modelling and simulation (M&S) of CPS. Collaborative research with the US will be an opportunity to advance European M&S capabilities for CPS. The overall aim of TAMS4CPS is to lay the foundations for concrete EU-US collaboration for modelling and simulation for cyber-physical systems. To achieve this Loughborough and Newcastle Universities (M&S) will work with Steinbeiss Innovation (road mapping) and leading researchers in the field at top US universities to create:- A strategic research and collaboration agenda endorsed by researchers in EU and US- A set of test cases for model developers to perform collaborative evaluation- A state of the art web based report to act as a baseline for collaborative research . Taking a consultative approach, we will engage industry and academic researchers and M&S users in workshops and web-based meetings to prioritise M&S research challenges and to create a constituency of future collaboration partners for pre-competitive research in the Artemis themes of- Architectures, principles and models for safe secure Cyber-Physical Systems- Systems design modelling and virtual engineering for Cyber-Physical Systems- Autonomous adaptive and cooperative Cyber-Physical Systems- Computing platforms energy management for Cyber-Physical Systems to which is added the exploitation and enabling theme of – Integration of socio/legal governance models within modelling frameworks. Thus the project directly addresses European priorities in CPS.

Visit the project’s website for more information

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