Will Tomorrow's Computers Be Immortal?

Leading European academic groups and companies team up with IBM and the German Aerospace Center DLR in an EU-funded research project IMMORTAL in a quest to improve reliability and extend the lifetime of emerging cyber-physical systems.

​Computers have become an inseparable part of our everyday life and their presence is only expected to increase in the years to come. There will be more than 30 billion computing devices connected to the internet by the year 2020. As of today, a vast majority of computers are deployed as embedded, networked systems interacting with the physical environment via sensors and actuators. This has given a rise to a new engineering paradigm of cyber-physical systems integrating the physics, control and computer science views.

Modern cyber-physical systems constitute a central part of many safety-critical (automotive, avionics, nuclear), mission-critical (space), and business-critical (industry automation) applications, where failures can have catastrophic consequences. Needless to say, reliability, correct operation as well as extensive lifetime of such systems is of utmost importance. While there exist pioneering CAD software tools for cyber-physical systems development, the aspects of reliable design, verification and debug have been so far largely neglected.

To overcome this gap, EU’s Horizon 2020 launched a Research and Innovation Action IMMORTAL, where a consortium of leading European experts join forces to develop new computer architectures and a framework of software tools for designing reliable cyber-physical systems. In IMMORTAL, competence of DLR’s Institute of Space Systems on modeling space and avionics systems is combined with the verification and debug know-how from Graz University of Technology, Austria. The reliable hardware architecture ties together many-core systems from Recore Systems, The Netherlands, fault management infrastructure from Testonica Lab, Estonia, reliability analysis and verification from IBM Israel, and analog monitors for keeping track of the system’s health status from University of Twente, The Netherlands. The project is coordinated by the research group of dependable multi-core systems of Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia.

IMMORTAL will develop holistic reliability modeling and analysis, across multiple layers, starting from the operating system down to the physical implementation of the system. A new fault management infrastructure will be created enabling rapid fault recovery and life-time extension for future cyber-physical systems. Last but not least, verification solutions allowing automated localization and correction of bugs in models of such systems will be introduced.

All this contributes to the ambitious overall objective of cutting the development and maintenance expenses for cyber-physical systems by 30% and 40%, respectively. IMMORTAL will last for 3 years and is supported by EU with 4 Million Euros, just a fraction of the costs it is expected to save for the society as a result of its research.

More information: www.h2020-immortal.eu


Categories: Computers and Software, Electronics, Space Technology, Computer Engineering, Computer Hardware, Multi- and Parallel Processing

Tags: Computer, Cyber-Physical Systems, Electronics