Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, along with four other universities, are participating in a new National Science Foundation-funded project, to improve time synchronization in advanced computer systems.
The National Science Foundation has announced a five-year, $4 million award to tackle the challenge of synchronizing time in cyber-physical systems (CPS), which are systems that integrate sensing, computation, control and networking into physical objects and infrastructure.
Examples of cyber-physical systems include autonomous cars, aircraft autopilot systems, tele-robotics devices and energy-efficient buildings, among many others.
The grant brings together expertise from five universities and establishes a center-scale research activity to improve the accuracy, efficiency, robustness and security with which computers maintain knowledge of time and synchronize it with other networked devices in the emerging "Internet of Things."
Time has always been a critical issue in science and technology. From pendulums to atomic clocks, the accurate measurement of time has helped drive scientific discovery and engineering innovation throughout history. For example, advances in distributed clock synchronization technology enabled GPS satellites to precisely measure distances. This, in turn, created new opportunities and even entirely new industries, enabling the development of mobile navigation systems. However, many other areas of clock technology are still ripe for development.
Time synchronization presents a particular fundamental challenge in emerging applications of CPS, which connect computers, communication, sensors and actuator technologies to objects and play a critical role in our physical and network infrastructure. Cyber-physical systems depend on precise knowledge of time to infer location, control communication and accurately coordinate activities. They are critical to real-time situational awareness, security and control in a broad and growing range of applications.
"The National Science Foundation has long supported research to integrate cyber and physical systems and has supported the experimentation and prototyping of these systems in a number of different sectors—from transportation and energy to medical systems," said Farnam Jahanian, head of NSF's Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. "As the 'Internet of Things' becomes more pervasive in our lives, precise timing will be critical for these systems to be more responsive, reliable and efficient."
The NSF award will support a project called Roseline, which seeks to develop new clocking technologies, synchronization protocols, operating system methods, as well as control and sensing algorithms. The project is led by engineering faculty from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and includes electrical engineering and computer science faculty from the University of California, San Diego; Carnegie Mellon University; the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Utah.
More - Link >>> http://www.rdmag.com/news/2014/06/new-effort-revolutionize-time-keeping-cyber-physical-systems?et_cid=3997816&et_rid=544605860&location=top
Sources: National Science Foundation, R & D Magazine.
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