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Designs 2018, 2(4), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/designs2040040

How to Deal with the Complexity of Future Cyber-Physical Systems?

1,*,†
and
2,†
1
Department of Machine Design, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
2
School of Systems and Enterprises, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 19 October 2018 / Accepted: 19 October 2018 / Published: 22 October 2018
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Abstract

Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) integrate computation, networking and physical processes to produce products that are autonomous, intelligent, connected and collaborative. Resulting Cyber-Physical Systems of Systems (CPSoS) have unprecedented capabilities but also unprecedented corresponding technological complexity. This paper aims to improve understanding, awareness and methods to deal with the increasing complexity by calling for the establishment of new foundations, knowledge and methodologies. We describe causes and effects of complexity, both in general and specific to CPS, consider the evolution of complexity, and identify limitations of current methodologies and organizations for dealing with future CPS. The lack of a systematic treatment of uncertain complex environments and “composability”, i.e., to integrate components of a CPS without negative side effects, represent overarching limitations of existing methodologies. Dealing with future CPSoS requires: (i) increased awareness of complexity, its impact and best practices for how to deal with it, (ii) research to establish new knowledge, methods and tools for CPS engineering, and (iii) research into organizational approaches and processes to adopt new methodologies and permit efficient collaboration within and across large teams of humans supported by increasingly automated computer aided engineering systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: complexity; cyber-physical systems; systems engineering; uncertainty complexity; cyber-physical systems; systems engineering; uncertainty
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Törngren, M.; Grogan, P.T. How to Deal with the Complexity of Future Cyber-Physical Systems? Designs 2018, 2, 40.

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