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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N023641/1
Title: STRATA; Layers for Structuring Trustworthy Ambient Systems
Principal Investigator: Romanovsky, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Jones, Professor CB Burns, Professor A Yakovlev, Professor A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Computing
Organisation: Newcastle University
Scheme: Platform Grants
Starts: 01 June 2016 Ends: 31 May 2020 Value (£): 965,298
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fundamentals of Computing Software Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 Feb 2016 Programme and Platform Grant Interviews - Feb 2016 (ICT) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
For computing as a whole, and ambient systems in particular, significant new challenges will have to be faced because of the rapid evolution in Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). A major impetus towards CPS is the promised Internet of Things (IoT). The scale of the IoT could soon involve trillions of devices generating masses of real-time data and thus demanding unprecedented power. To sustain this scaling and huge surge in energy demand, ambient systems will need to be designed to trade off power, performance and reliability. Inevitably, this will require ever more sophisticated responses to achieve trustworthiness.

Our TrAmS-2 platform was shaped by two important factors affecting ambient system design. First, the power provision/consumption of devices, rather than cost, was becoming the limiting factor in the deployment of ambient systems. Second, novel paradigms such as cloud computing offered a new dimension of ambience in that data and programs can be migrated without physical movement of agents.

The TrAmS-2 platform grant has sustained our research group which has created new projects on sound technical foundations, methods and tools to model, design and analyse Trustworthy Ambient Systems. Our team, and the projects in which it is involved, are developing methods for designing mobile devices with energy-efficient and power-constrained hardware. Our project portfolio includes 13 EPSRC, EU, industry and other projects with applications in sectors including automotive, rail, space, business, healthcare and consumer electronics. Our current arsenal of tools and methods includes the powerful toolsets of Rodin, Workcraft and Symphony, advanced patterns for modelling fault tolerance and world-leading techniques in proof technology, simulation and ample evidence to support industrial deployment of formal engineering methods. With such a solid foundation we will enter Strata well equipped with formal engineering methods, advanced tool support, architectural and algorithmic approaches for embedded systems design and modelling, in particular capturing systems with multiple modes targeted at power and reliability.

In Strata, the research platform will receive extra impetus through a two-pronged attack on the challenges of future ambient systems design with the teams in Newcastle and York working together. This will facilitate making a qualitative step in terms of rigorous and model-based approaches to the design and analysis of future resource-limited ambient systems. The cornerstone of the platform approach and methodology is a shared vision that future complex ambient systems have to be structured in layers. These layers, or strata, of system resources and delivered functionality in terms of time and power will be combined with cross-layer fault tolerance and even adherence to the (levels of) specification in an environment where one has to accept that components will fail. Strata will address the challenges in four interlinked themes: methodology, cross-layer fault tolerance, real-time layering and real power.

The skills of the three involved research groups are complementary and form a solid research base in software, systems and microelectronics to establish a unique team in terms of capability and expertise, with international profiles in formal methods, dependability, real-time and energy-modulated systems. Strata will provide continuity for research staff, encouraging new, risky, research in areas created by this novel mix of expertise.

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Organisation Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk