Cyber-Physical Systems

The term Cyber-Physical System (CPS) is used to describe dynamic systems which combine components characterized by a physical state (e.g., the location, power level, and temperature of a mobile robot) with components (mostly digital devices empowered by software) characterized by an operational state or mode (e.g., on/off, transmitting/receiving). From a modeling point of view, physical states evolve according to time-driven dynamics commonly described through differential (or difference) equations, while operational states have event-driven dynamics where events may be controllable (e.g., a turn on command) or uncontrollable (e.g., a random failure). Imparting intelligence to a CPS implies the presence of multiple additional events that correspond to actions such as “start moving” for a mobile robot or “change sampling rate” for a sensor. These physical and operational states generally interact to give rise to a hybrid dynamic system. For example, a sensor with autonomous control capabilities may switch to a data transmitting mode as a result of a particular physical state change (e.g., its residual energy drops below a certain threshold). Examples of CPS include smart grid, autonomous vehicle systems, medical monitoring, industrial control systems, and robotics systems, and among others.

Collaborative Research: CPS: Medium: An Online Learning Framework for Socially Emerging Mixed Mobility

Emerging mobility systems, e.g., connected and automated vehicles and shared mobility, provide the most intriguing opportunity for enabling users to better monitor transportation network conditions and make better decisions for improving safety and transportation efficiency. However, different levels of vehicle automation in the transportation network can significantly alter transportation efficiency metrics (travel times, energy, environmental […]

CNS Core: Small: Collaborative Research: HEECMA: A Hybrid Elastic Edge-Cloud Application Management Architecture

Application software is becoming increasingly abundant in functionality and increasingly demanding of resources, e.g., memory and compute power. This project examines how application software, e.g., a Virtual Reality (VR) based drone control application, can be partitioned and deployed over different parts of a distributed computing infrastructure, i.e., resources are managed by a hybrid of service […]

Decentralized Optimal Control of Cooperating Networked Multi-agent Systems

Multi-agent systems encompass a broad spectrum of applications, ranging from connected autonomous vehicles and the emerging internet of cars, where the spatial domain may be hundreds of miles with time horizons over hours of days, to micro-air vehicles which operate over meter length and minute time scales, and down to nano-manipulation with nanometer spatial microsecond […]

Workshop on Smart Cities, Arlington, Virginia, December 3-4, 2015

This Workshop will bring together researchers and technical leaders from academia, industry, and municipal government in order to set a short and long-term research agenda for Smart Cities aiming to integrate the three broad fields of Engineering, Computer Science, and Social Science. The Workshop topics cover a variety of fields and specialized disciplines including: transportation, […]


Recent developments in nanotechnology and synthetic biology have enabled a new direction in biological engineering: synthesis of collective behaviors and spatio-temporal patterns in multi-cellular bacterial and mammalian systems. This will have a dramatic impact in such areas as amorphous computing, nano-fabrication, and, in particular, tissue engineering, where patterns can be used to differentiate stem cells […]

PFI:BIC A Smart-city Cloud-based Open Platform and Ecosystem (SCOPE)

This NSF Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) project from Boston University will research, prototype, and evaluate novel “smart-city” services for the city of Boston and for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The centerpiece of the project is a Smart-city Cloud-based Open Platform and Ecosystem (SCOPE), which creates a multisided marketplace for smart-city services based […]

Sensor Research Wins $1M NSF Award

Enhancing the functionality of cyber-physical systems—those that integrate physical processes with networked computing—could significantly improve our quality of life, from reducing car collisions to upgrading robotic surgeries to mounting more effective search and rescue missions. Recognizing Boston University as a key contributor to this effort, the National Science Foundation has awarded Professors Venkatesh Saligrama (ECE, SE) […]

CPS: Synergy: Collaborative Research: A Cyber-Physical Infrastructure for the “Smart City”

The project aims at making cities “smarter” by engineering processes such as traffic control, efficient parking services, and new urban activities such as recharging electric vehicles. To that end, the research will study the components needed to establish a Cyber-Physical Infrastructure for urban environments and address fundamental problems that involve data collection, resource allocation, real-time […]