Scheduling of Event-Triggered Control Tasks (SENTIENT)


The advances in electronic communication and computation have enabled the ubiquity of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS): digital systems that regulate and control all sorts of physical processes, such as chemical reactors, water distribution and power networks. These systems require the timely communication of sensor measurements and control actions to provide their prescribed functionalities. Event-triggered control (ETC) techniques, which communicate only when needed to enforce performance, have attracted attention as a mean to reduce the communication traffic and save energy on (wireless) networked control systems (NCS). However, despite ETC’s great communication reductions, the scheduling of the aperiodic and largely unpredictable traffic that ETC generates remains widely unaddressed – hindering its true potential for energy and bandwidth savings.

Goal/ objective
The main goal of the SENTIENT project is to untangle the scheduling of event-triggered control tasks.

This goal will be reached by developing a novel approach integrating ideas across the boundaries of the fields of networked control systems and symbolic methods in control.

More concretely, this project’s objectives are:

(1) to study and model the timing behaviour of ETC systems; and

(2) to employ such models to optimise energy and bandwidth allocations for NCSs.

Work programme
To reach the aforementioned objectives and the final goal, scientific methods at the cross-roads between theoretical computer science, control systems and communications engineering will be employed.

A two step approach will be followed, consisting of:

(i) modelling as timed-priced-game-automata (TPGA) the timing of communications of event-triggered control systems; and

(ii) solving games over TPGAs to prevent data communication collisions and ensure prescribed performances for the control tasks.

Additionally, a third pillar of research will be devoted to validation of the theories and facilitation of their use to practitiones through the development of software tools and experimental demonstrations.

The project SENTIENT will produce algorithms facilitating the efficient implementation of control loops over shared communication resources and increasing the energy efficiency of wireless NCS by orders of magnitude. The advances will be demonstrated on automotive and wireless water-distribution control applications, showcasing the potential economic impact from the reduction of implementation and maintenance costs on CPSs.

Principal investiator

Manuel Mazo Jr 

Control Engineering, Networks Computer systems, parallel/distributed systems, sensor netwokrs, embedded systems, cyber physical systems, Theoretical computer sience, formal methods and quantum computing

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