A physical system controlled by embedded software is a Cyber-Physical System (CPS). CPSs require software to control many individual systems as well as to control the complex coordination of those systems. Examples include integrated avionics systems, interacting medical devices, and distributed power systems in the Smart Grid. The promise of CPSs is that they can dramatically increase the autonomous capabilities of a collection of systems. They also generally allow physically separated devices and vehicles to coordinate in ways not previously possible.The challenge is that traditional tools and techniques that have been used to qualify systems for use by ensuring the timeliness and correctness of software are costly and ineffective when applied to CPSs.
Cyber-physical systems (CPSs) are a natural consequence of the increased connectedness and autonomy of real-time embedded systems. Like real-time embedded systems, CPSs are characterized by a high degree of coupling between computations and physical processes. Because of this coupling, safety and timeliness properties, among others, are critical. However, increased distribution and scale make it much harder to guarantee such properties.
The design and analysis principles that govern smaller scale system behavior are necessary but not sufficient for larger scale systems. The notion of scale is subtle and multifaceted. For more information about issues of scale, see the ultra-large-scale systems area.
How We Can Help
The SEI helps organizations to
- apply formal verification techniques and tools to assure critical system properties
- apply real-time analysis techniques to determine if critical system timing properties will be satisfied
- provide design and implementation guidance for real-time, cyber-physical systems