December 10, 2010


Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are integrations of computation and physical processes. Embedded computers and networks monitor and control the physical processes, usually with feedback loops where physical processes affect computations and vice versa. The prevailing abstractions used in computing, however, do not mesh well with the physical world. Most critically, software systems speak about the passage of time only very indirectly and in non-compositional ways. This talk examines the obstacles in software technologies that are impeding progress, and in particular raises the question of whether today's computing and networking technologies provide an adequate foundation for CPS. It argues that it will not be sufficient to improve design processes, raise the level of abstraction, or verify (formally or otherwise) designs that are built on today's abstractions. To realize the full potential of CPS, we will have to rebuild software abstractions. These abstractions will have to embrace physical dynamics and computation in a unified way. This talk will discuss research challenges and potential solutions.

About the speaker

Edward A. Lee is the Robert S. Pepper Distinguished Professor and former chair of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) department at U.C. Berkeley. His research interests center on design, modeling, and simulation of embedded, real-time computational systems. He is a director of Chess, the Berkeley Center for Hybrid and Embedded Software Systems, and is the director of the Berkeley Ptolemy project. He is co-author of five books and numerous papers. He has led the development of several influential open-source software packages, notably Ptolemy and its various spinoffs. His bachelor’s degree (B.S.) is from Yale University (1979), his masters (S.M.) from MIT (1981), and his Ph.D. from U. C. Berkeley (1986). From 1979 to 1982 he was a member of technical staff at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, in the Advanced Data Communications Laboratory. He is a co-founder of BDTI, Inc., where he is currently a Senior Technical Advisor, and has consulted for a number of other companies. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, was an NSF Presidential Young Investigator, and won the 1997 Frederick Emmons Terman Award for Engineering Education.

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