Manufacturing AUTOMATION

UC Berkeley, Caltech, IBM and United Technologies team up to uncover innovations in systems engineering

June 21, 2013
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

The California Institute of Technology, IBM, United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and the University of California, Berkeley have launched a research consortium to identify and develop new engineering techniques that will make it easier to successfully build products and services that combine complex software, hardware and mechanical components. The Industrial Cyber Physical Systems (“iCyPhy”) research program will maintain its base of operations at UC Berkeley.

Today’s modern systems—such as aircraft, buildings, electronic devices and automobiles—combine mechanical components, embedded systems, networking application software and user interfaces. The complexity of integrating these components presents challenges associated with design, test and verification of end products. The iCyPhy team aims to identify repeatable, standardized and measurable processes to ensure high-performing systems, and to uncover new product development methods that can help companies reduce costs, increase reliability and innovate more quickly.

“The complexity and heterogeneity of cyber physical systems create a unique intellectual challenge,” said UC Berkeley professor Alberto Sangiovanni Vincentelli, one of two iCyPhy co-principal investigators at UC Berkeley. (The other co-principal investigator is Edward Lee, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences.) “The problem is to develop well-founded, principled approaches to design that embrace heterogeneity and yet leverage the best of the domain-specific engineering techniques that have been developed to date.”

The iCyPhy consortium will transform the systems engineering process by bringing business and academia together, leveraging a large pool of expertise, skills and perspectives to tackle the challenge from all angles. IBM and UTC offer deep knowledge and background in complex systems design along with challenging applications problems. UC Berkeley and Caltech share an impressive history and achievement in analysis and synthesis.


“The unprecedented volumes of data facing engineering and design teams today has created significant challenges and opportunities in the development of new products and systems,” said Guruduth Banavar, VP, Industry Solutions Research at IBM. “The iCyPhy is tackling this through a new public and private collaboration that pairs industrial and academic research to explore and develop new approaches and breakthroughs in systems engineering. By pooling our scientists together and applying our research to real-world scenarios, we expect this consortium will provide the foundation for next generation systems design.”

“Systems engineering capability is key to the cost effective delivery of complex systems to the market,” said J. Michael McQuade, senior vice president, Science and Technology, for UTC. “We believe that by combining the expertise of industry and academia to investigate and develop techniques to model requirements and architectures of complex systems, the iCyPhy collaboration will drive significant improvements in product development.”

“The challenges of designing large-scale, complex systems, especially those that must operate at extremely high levels of availability and safety, are increasing rapidly as we continue to exploit our ability to add sensing, computing and communications to complex mechanical and electrical systems,” said Richard Murray, principal investigator, Caltech. “There are great opportunities for leveraging and amplifying the recent advances in analysis and design of cyber physical systems from researchers in universities and industry.”

The consortium will operate in the public domain, publishing research and making its findings available for the benefit of industry and academia.

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