Cyber-physical systems

Recommended NSF program

According to the National Science Foundation, “Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computation and physical components.”

In 2018, that means:

CPS tightly integrate computing devices, actuation and control, networking infrastructure, and sensing of the physical world. The system may include human interaction with or without human aided control. CPS may also include multiple integrated system components operating at wide varieties of spatial and temporal time scales. They can be characterized by architectures that may include distributed or centralized computing, multi-level hierarchical control and coordination of physical and organizational processes.

Comparing NSF program language from 2010 to 2018, we see some subtle differences. For example:

NSF’s tone in 2010 is pessimistic yet hopeful: “Research advances in cyber-physical systems promise to transform our world. […] We do not yet have the principles, methodologies, and tools needed to realize our vision for cyber-physical systems.”

While 2018 NSF is fairly confident and smug: “CPS are driving innovation and competition in a range of sectors. […] They can be characterized by architectures that may include distributed or centralized computing, multi-level hierarchical control and coordination of physical and organizational processes.”

ALSO —

2010: ML = 0 AI = 0

2011: ML = 0 AI = 0

2012: ML = 0 AI = 0

2013: ML = 0 AI = 0

2014: ML = 0 AI = 0

2015: ML = 1 AI = 0

2016: ML = 1 AI = 0

2017: ML = 1 AI = 0

2018: ML = 1 AI = 1


Cyber-Physical Systems

Source: NSF

Link, 2010: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2010/nsf10515/nsf10515.htm

Link, 2018: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18538/nsf18538.htm

EXCERPT (from 2010)

Despite the rapid growth of innovative and powerful technologies for networked computation, sensing, and control, progress in cyber-physical systems is impeded on several fronts. First, as the complexity of current systems has grown, the time needed to develop them has increased exponentially, and the effort needed to certify them has risen to account for more than half the total system cost. Second, the disparate and incommensurate formalisms and tools used to deal with the cyber and physical elements of existing systems have forced early and overly conservative design decisions and constraints that limit options and degrade overall performance and robustness. Third, in deployed systems, fears of unpredictable side-effects forestall even small software modifications and upgrades, and new hardware components remain on the shelf for want of true plug-and-play infrastructures. Fourth, current systems have limited ability to deal with uncertainty, whether arising from incidental events during operation or induced in systems development. These problems are endemic to the technology base for virtually every sector critical to U.S. security and competitiveness, and they will not be solved by finding point solutions for individual applications. The solutions that are needed are central to the gamut of cyber-physical system application domains. It is imperative that we begin to develop the cross-cutting fundamental scientific and engineering principles and methodologies that will be required to create the future systems upon which our very lives will depend.
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