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Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS)

(Stanford University - Jaclyn Chen)


The Cyber-Physical System (CPS) is the core concept of Industry 4.0 for building smart factories.

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.

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. 

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.



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