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Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS)

(Stanford University - Jaclyn Chen)


- Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC)

SMC's research areas include: 

  • Systems Science and Engineering - focuses on the systematic formulation, interpretation, analysis, and modeling of problems and decision opportunities in large complex systems.
  • Human-Machine Systems – Focuses on organizational interaction, cognitive ergonomics, and human information processing.
  • Cybernetics - focuses on communication and control between machines or between machines, humans, and organizations. This covers a very wide range of fields, including but not limited to computational intelligence, computer vision, neural networks, evolutionary algorithms, fuzzy systems, and machine learning. 

- CPS: The Basic Technology Platform for IoT and IIot

The Cyber-Physical System (CPS) is the core concept of Industry 4.0 for building smart factories. CPS is the basic technology platform for IoT and IIoT and therefore the main enabler to connect physical machines that were previously disconnected. CPS integrates the dynamics of the physical process with those of software and communication, providing abstractions and modeling, design, and analysis techniques.

CPS is similar to IoT, sharing the same basic architecture; nevertheless, CPS presents a higher combination and coordination between physical and computational elements. CPS and IoT are complementary paradigms because both aim at integrating digital capabilities, including connectivity with physical devices and systems. Moreover, CPS and IoT include interacting logical, physical, and human components by integrating logic and physics. However, there are some differences. For example, IoT makes more emphasis on connecting “things” towards connecting “everything” whereas CPS put more attention on integrating computation, networking and physical systems.


- Transdisciplinary Approaches

As digital computing and communication become faster, cheaper, and available in packages that are smaller and use less power, these capabilities are increasingly embedded in many objects and structures in the physical environment. Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are physical and engineered systems whose operations are monitored, coordinated, controlled, and integrated by computing and communication. Broad CPS deployment is transforming how we interact with the physical world as profoundly as the world wide web transformed how we interact with one another, and further harnessing their capabilities holds the possibility of enormous societal and economic impact. 

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are usually composed of a set of networked agents, including sensors, actuators, control processing units, and communication devices. While some forms of CPS are already in use, the widespread growth of wireless embedded sensors and actuators is creating several new applications in areas such as medical devices, autonomous vehicles, and smart infrastructure, and is increasing the role that the information infrastructure plays in existing control systems such as in the process control industry or the power grid.

CPS involves transdisciplinary approaches, merging theory of cybernetics, mechatronics, design and process science. The process control is often referred to as embedded systems. In embedded systems, the emphasis tends to be more on the computational elements, and less on an intense link between the computational and physical elements. 


[Budapest, Hungary - mindz_eye]

- CPS Infrastructure

A cyberphysical system (CPS) is a system in which a mechanism is controlled or monitored by computer-based algorithms. In cyber-physical systems, physical and software components are deeply intertwined, able to operate on different spatial and temporal scales, exhibit multiple and distinct behavioral modalities, and interact with each other in ways that change with context. 

Many CPS applications are safety-critical: their failure can cause irreparable harm to the physical system under control, and to the people who depend, use or operate it. In particular, critical cyber-physical infrastructures such as electric power generation, transmission and distribution grids, oil and natural gas systems, water and waste-water treatment plants, and transportation networks play a fundamental and large-scale role in our society. Their disruption can have a significant impact on individuals, and nations at large. Securing these CPS infrastructures is, therefore, vitally important.

Similarly because many CPS systems collect sensor data non-intrusively, users of these systems are often unaware of their exposure. Therefore, in addition to security, CPS systems must be designed with privacy considerations.  


- New Smart CPS Driving Innovation and Competition

Advances in CPS will enable capability, adaptability, scalability, resiliency, safety, security, and usability that will far exceed the simple embedded systems of today. CPS technology will transform the way people interact with engineered systems - just as the Internet has transformed the way people interact with information. New smart CPS will drive innovation and competition in sectors such as agriculture, energy, transportation, building design and automation, healthcare, and manufacturing. Moreover, the integration of artificial intelligence with CPS creates new research opportunities with major societal implications.  

CPS has provided an outstanding foundation to build advanced industrial systems and applications by integrating innovative functionalities through Internet of Things (IoT) and Web of Things (WoB) to enable connection of the operations of the physical reality with computing and communication infrastructures. A wide range of industrial CPS-based applications have been developed and deployed in Industry 4.0. 

Today's world is a network of interconnected, embedded computer systems with components ranging in size and complexity. Researchers and hackers have shown that networked embedded systems are vulnerable to remote attack. Technology for the construction of safe and secure cyber-physical systems is badly needed.

[More to come ...]

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