by Michel Reniers and Sebastian Engell

We are developing a strategic policy document “European Research and Innovation Agenda
on Cyber-Physical Systems of Systems”

Cyber-Physical Systems of Systems (CPSoS) is a 30-month Support Action, funded by the EU (under FP7), that provides an exchange platform for Systems of Systems (SoS) related projects and communities. It focuses on the challenges posed by the engineering and the operation of technical systems in which computing and communication systems interact with large complex physical systems ([1], [2], [3]). Its approach is simultaneously integrative - aiming to bring together knowledge from different SoS related communities - and applications driven. It will integrate the different approaches to the design, analysis and control of systems of systems that are pursued by different communities in theory and application, and relate the methods and tools proposed for dealing with SoS to key application domains which are important for Europe’s competiveness as well as for the well-being of its citizens. The project will conduct an in-depth examination of application-specific issues, capture cross-industry and cross-application findings and propose new avenues for SoS analysis, design and control. This will contribute to the development of a science of systems of systems and a European R&I agenda on SoS, involving different scientific communities, application domain experts, end-users and vendors.

The final outcomes of the project will be:

  • Analysis of industrial and societal needs and of the state-of-the art of tools, theories, and methods for cyber-physical SoS, and identification of synergies, open issues and promising transdisciplinary research directions,
  • Definition of a research agenda for cyber-physical systems of systems and their engineering needs,
  • Contribution to coordination of SoS related projects, building up a network of key researchers and application domain experts in the area, and raising public awareness of the impact of research on systems of systems engineering, analysis and control.
Figure 1: Workflow of the CPSoS project.

Figure 1: Workflow of the CPSoS project.

The contributions will be summarized in a strategic policy document “European Research and Innovation Agenda on Cyber-physical Systems of Systems”, supported by a set of in-depth technical papers. The project will prepare the EU stakeholders for extracting a competitive advantage from the recent and the future developments in the area of SoS. The project’s approach is summarized in Figure 1, which shows several of the steps taken in the project to achieve the above outcomes.

Three working groups have been created on:

  1. Systems of Systems in Transportation and Logistics (Chair: Prof. Haydn Thompson, Haydn Consulting),
  2. Physically Connected Systems of Systems (Chair: Prof. Sebastian Engell, TU Dortmund),
  3. Tools for Systems of Systems Engineering and Management (Chair: Prof. Wan Fokkink, TU Eindhoven).

On 31 January 2014, a first meeting of the members of the working groups was held in Düsseldorf, Germany. The discussions addressed the following main questions:

  • What are typical use cases of cyber-physical systems of systems?
  • What are the main difficulties encountered in the engineering, realization and operation of CPSoS?
  • What are the specific demands and challenges for advanced methods and tools for CPSoS engineering and operation?
  • What are the most important open research questions for CPSoS over the next five years?

Numerous examples for cyber-physical systems of systems were presented and discussed, and the three Working Groups provided prioritized lists of future topics for research and development in the area of CPSoS. These will be discussed with domain experts, within the consortium, and elaborated in more detail with the help of the members of the working groups in order to provide a first draft of a strategy document by June 2014.

A first draft of the roadmap paper will be presented to the European Commission in July 2014. The roadmap paper will then be further discussed in workshops with external participation in the autumn of 2014 to obtain feedback and further input. A Workshop on Tools and Methods for Cyber-Physical Systems of Systems is planned to take place on September 12, 2014, co-located with iFM 2014 in Bertinoro, Italy.

More information, including the composition of the consortium, the members of the working groups, papers of importance to the domain and discussion papers and final outcomes can be found on the project website.

Researchers and industrial stakeholders with an interest in cyber-physical systems of systems are invited to contribute in the following ways:

  • send suggestions via the short questionnaire ( page_id=462)
  • send any other suggestions to the project coordinator Prof. Sebastian Engell (via Web site, "Contact" page, or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  • subscribe to the project events' announcements and newsletters.

The CPSoS project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 611115.


[1] M.W. Maier: “Architecting Principles for System of Systems”, Systems Engineering, Vol. 1, No. 4, 1998 pp. 267‐284
[2] A. Lee: “Cyber Physical Systems: Design Challenges”, in proc. of the 11th IEEE Symposium on Object Oriented Real-Time Distributed Computing, IEEE Computer Society Washington DC, USA, 2008, pp. 363-369
[3] J. Fitzgerald et al.: “Model-based Engineering for Systems of Systems: the COMPASS Manifesto”, COMPASS Technical Report, 2013.

Please contact:
Sebastian Engell
CPSoS project coordinator
Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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