Cyber-Physical Systems and Systems Engineering

Impact: Research Topic/Theme (at group level)

Description of impact

In the design of many engineering systems it is no longer possible to develop the control system in isolation. Next-generation high-tech systems require tight coordination between computation, communication and control elements (the ‘cyber’ part) on the one hand, and physical processes such as heating, cooling, motion, vibrations etc. (the physical part) on the other hand. Despite the need for integrated design of these so-called cyber-physical systems (CPSs), the corresponding scientific disciplines have predominantly been developed independently. This separation of disciplines can no longer be sustained and urgently needs to be bridged. The CST group has taken up this tremendous challenge that has led to a strong scientific track record and a position as a key player in the field of CPSs in general and in (wireless) networked control systems (NCSs) in particular. Inspired by highly relevant applications including intelligent traffic systems with (wireless) vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, and resource-aware control for lithographic systems and automotive systems, new foundations have been developed for distributed control of physical systems over shared communication networks and resource-aware (event-triggered) control. These contributions are recognised worldwide as highly innovative and ground-breaking. The mathematical modelling of NCS and CPS require both discrete and continuous model ingredients leading to an overall hybrid system description. The CST group provides important fundamental developments in the area of hybrid systems that directly connect to the essential challenges in the NCS and CPS applications. The methods are being developed in close co-operation with leading industries such as NXP, TNO Automotive, ASML, Technolution, FEI, Honeywell, Ford etc.

Systems Engineering aims to develop quantitative methods for the analysis, design and implementation of (embedded) mechanical engineering systems exhibiting concurrent behavior, with particular focus on the manufacturing high tech industry. The objectives are to generate theory, to develop techniques, to build computational tools, and to apply these in selected cases from industry. The research program of the Systems Engineering group is built on the triangle of Research, Engineering and Utilization (see figure). The basis is mechanical engineering science, in which we use formal methods from computer science and methods from mathematics. Model-based engineering design methods and tools are developed on this scientific basis. These model-based engineering methods and tools are validated in selected industrial applications. This is an important source of inspiration for the further development of research and educational activities.
Category of impactResearch Topic/Theme (at group level)