by Erwin Schoitsch

The annual ERCIM/EWICS DECOS Dependable Cyber-physical Systems Workshop (formerly “Dependable Embedded Systems Workshop”), in conjunction with SAFECOMP 2011, was held in Naples, Italy on 22 September 2011. The workshop was organized by the ERCIM Dependable Embedded Systems Working Group, together with EWICS TC7 (European Workshop on Industrial Computer Systems Technical Committee 7) and the DECOS Interest Group (DIG)(Dependable Embedded Components and Systems, an IP in FP6).

The theme of SAFECOMP 2011 was “Safety and Security of Computer-based Systems and Infrastructures: from Risk Assessment to Threat Mitigation”. About 85 participants listened to interesting talks in eleven sessions and a poster session.

Topics of the sessions were RAM Evaluation, Complex Systems Dependability, Formal Verification, Risk and Hazard Analysis, Cybersecurity, Case Studies, Optimization Methods. Key Note speakers were:

  • Paulo Verissimo from University of Lisboa (Portugal): Security and Dependability Risks of Critical Information Infrastructures (or why Bang! is different from Crash).
  • Gerard J. Holzmann from Caltech and NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (USA): Software Safety and Software Complexity
  • Andrea Bondavalli from University of Firenze (Italy): Model based resilience assessment of critical information infrastructures

The last day of SAFECOMP was dedicated to two tutorials and two workshops which were held simultaneously. The full-day ERCIM/EWICS/DECOS Workshop attracted 25 participants; quite a considerable number under the circumstances. The workshop, according to its broad scope, comprised three topics in four sessions:

  • Dependable and resilient embedded systems (1) and (2)
  • System Safety, Systems-of-Systems
  • Autonomous Systems and Robotics.

In the introductory talk, Erwin Schoitsch gave an short overview on ERCIM, EWICS and the ARTEMIS Joint Technology Initiative and Joint Undertaking, focussing on three ARTEMIS projects related to the workshop session topics: MBAT (Model-Based Analysis and Testing of Embedded Systems), SafeCer (Safety Certification of Software-Intensive Systems with Reusable Components) and R3-COP (Resilient Reasoning Robotic Co-operating Systems). In the first two sessions, “work in progress” was reported from several ARTEMIS projects:

  • CESAR, which aims at creating an ARTEMIS Reference Technology Platform for safety-critical embedded systems. This project was presented by Roland Mader, company AVL, Austria)
  • ACROSS (about Network on Chip (NoC), time-triggered Ethernet based), presented by Oliver Höftberger from company TTTech, Austria), and
  • pShield (on SPD – Secure, Private, Dependable Power Node Embedded System, presented by Przemysław Osocha, SESM, Italy).

These presentations were accompanied by two other talks on co-modelling and co-simulation for Dependable Embedded Systems (DESTECS project, presented by Ken Pierce, Newcastle University, UK) and “What UML based mutation testing can tell us about a system (and what not)”, by Rupert Schlick (AIT Austrian Institute of Technology).

The session “System Safety, Systems-of-Systems” was driven by industrial experience talks: Martin Waßmuth from EADS presented “Distributed Safety Assessment for Airborne Systems”, and by Francesco Sperandio from d’ Apollonia SpA presented “A System Approach for the Safety Demonstration of the Main Brake Pipe Recharge Inhibition Command”. Erwin Schoitsch concluded the session, highlighting the need for holistic system approaches “What can we learn from regional disasters about holistic risk assessment? The systems-of-systems view of complex cyber-physical systems”.

The third session was dedicated to robotics. Reports were from R3-COP presented by Francesca Saglietti from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. Her presentation, entitled “Model-based Representation of Cooperative, Autonomous Systems”, demonstrated the advantage of using coloured Petri nets to model complex vision- and perception based scenarios in a compact manner. Saglietti’s report is complemented by a presentation available on the SAFECOMP Web site on a R3-COP market study concerning “Trends and tendencies for embedded systems in Robotics” from Antonio Feraco, company Innova, Italy. André Dietrich from the Magdeburg Robotic Lab at the University of Magdeburg, Germany, gave a talk on a closely related issue, entitled “Model-based decoupling of perception and processing”, focussing on exploiting geometric and behaviour models for improved interaction between robots and their environment, and role-based human-machine interaction. Two presentations were about practical applications including orientation and mapping by fingerprinting methods: “Autonomous Maintenance Robot for Location Fingerprinting Methods” by Janne Merilinna, VTT Finland, and “A modular software system targeted towards embedded applications examplified by UAV usage” presented by Amund Skavhaug (NTNU, Norway), both including videos of the experimental prototypes.

The presentations led, to very lively discussions and raised a high level of interest. Overall, the workshop can be considered a success. The workshop was chaired by Erwin Schoitsch (AIT Austrian Institute of Technology) and Amund Skavhaug, (NTNU, Trondheim, Norway).


Please contact:
Erwin Schoitsch, ERCIM DES WG co-chair
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology (AARIT)
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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