A time of opportunity:
This is a great time in the history of cyber-physical systems. Digital algorithms, social systems, and physical environments are getting more closely interconnected. I teach courses that help detangle the ramifications of these interconnections on future research, technology, and society.
An expanding frontier for computer scientists lies at the intersection of the logical and physical realms. As computing elements become embedded more pervasively in our environment, a new cyber-physical fabric arises in which logical processing is deeply intertwined with the physical environment in which it occurs. The course explores the science of designing and analyzing systems that are guaranteed to perform their functions in a timely manner. A real-time AI simulation testbed is used to illustrate some of the concepts. Selected topics include a review of basic concepts (tasks, threads, blocking, priorities, importance, resource partitioning, etc), challenges in reliabity (complexity reduction, well-formed dependencies, and fail-safe operation), challenges in timeliness (real-time scheduling and resource management), challenges in energy consumption (power-aware algorithms and energy saving issues), real-time AI, and advanced topics.
This is a paper-reading course with a research project component about applications of social/urban/mobile sensing, which are gaining momentum because of their applicability to urban areas and other populated spaces. The proliferation of smart phones and social networks gives rise to large amounts of information becoming available in real-time that can be thought of as "sensing" the physical world. According to the United Nations, presently just over half of the world population live in cities. This percentage will increase to 2/3 by 2050. Arguably, the most versatile "sensor" in urban areas is the human observer. Collectively, human observers post over 500 million tweets and over 80 million Instagram photos per day, making social media an interesting new "sensor network" for obtaining insights on a variety of events. This course investigates unfolding research challenges and directions in distributed social sensing, overviews the broader landscape of its urban applications, including sustainability, green computing, IoT, and urban cyber-physical systems, discusses common misconceptions, presents the underlying theoretical foundations, and sheds light on related recent technologies and publications. The course includes an experimental project on a social sensing testbed. Projects will involve crowd-sensing across the board from mobile/smartphone-based applications in urban/social spaces to exploitation of Twitter and Instagram, where humans act as pervasive "networked sensors" of current events. Links to CPS with humans-in-the-loop and IoT will be made.