NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, has just published a trio of reports on Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS).
“CPS go well beyond today’s ’embedded systems,’ which are largely task-specific machines that operate under computer control. Anticipated CPS uses such as intelligent vehicles and highways and next-generation air transportation will be significantly more ambitious, diverse and integrated than those of today’s task-specialized embedded systems.”
The NIST reports include a call to action that points to the importance of CPS:
The future applications of CPS are more transformative than the IT revolution of the past three decades. Unparalleled analytical capabilities, real-time networked information, and pervasive sensing, actuating, and computation are creating powerful opportunities for systems integration. Next generation CPS will be able to execute extraordinary tasks that are barely imagined today. These new capabilities will require high-confi dence computing systems that can interact appropriately with humans and the physical world in dynamic environments and under unforeseen conditions. Achieving these capabilities presents a complex and multi-disciplinary engineering challenge.
Future CPS have many sophisticated, interconnected parts that must instantaneously exchange, parse, and act on detailed data in a highly coordinated manner. Continued advances in science and engineering will be necessary to enable advances in design and development of these complex systems. Multiscale, multi-layer, multi-domain, and multi-system integrated infrastructures will require new foundations in system science and engineering. Scientists with an understanding of otherwise physical systems will need to work in tandem with computer and information scientists to achieve eff ective, workable designs. Standards and protocols will be necessary to help ensure that all interfaces between components are both composable and interoperable, while behaving in a predictable, reliable way.
As a CAD user, you are going to be expected to create models that go beyond the normal fit and function requirements of today. They’ll need to actually represent the performance and behavior of the parts and assemblies they represent, as they are integrated into larger systems.
Here is a table, taken from the reports, that shows some of the applications of cyber-physical systems:
Take some time, and visit the NIST page on Cyber-Physical Systems, and read the reports. If you have a chance, leave me a comment here, and let me know what you think.