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DIACPA

Published: 8 June 2016

Distributed Industrial Automation with Cyber-Physical Agnosticism

This project aims at developing of a software design and validation technology that is critical for adoption of Industrial Internet in automation of production. Communication over the Internet is not 100% reliable as it uses best effort without guarantees on message delivery. In technical processes it is often critical to have such guarantees that is why sensor values are sampled over exact time intervals. However, when sensors are connected over networks this is not easily achievable. In the Internet, sensors and actuators may be distributed across wide areas and connected to control devices by wires and wirelessly, but certain properties of physical processes controlled by these systems need to be guaranteed. We call this property cyber-physical agnosticism (CPA) that is the ability of automation system to maintain certain properties even if computer hardware is changed or different communication media are used. This property will be achieved via the novel way the software of automation systems is designed, implemented and validated.   

There has been active research in developing new computational models for cyber-physical systems, based on the concept of event-connected components, where event is an abstraction for messages in communication networks.

Design languages based on this architecture enable a part of CPA, by making the logic of system behaviour less dependent on the underlying computer hardware and networks. However, system’s performance is still an issue, as it would depend on the performance of networks and computer nodes.

Another enabler of CPA is timestamping of events and organising computations so that they take into account actual delay for every measurement, which can be extracted from the event’s timestamp. Such a model of computations called pTIDES is being currently developed by Lee’s group at Berkeley.