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Spring 2014 Seminars
Armin Wasicek, 2 Sep 2014
Last updated: 2 Sep 2014

Design of Robotics and Embedded systems, Analysis, and Modeling Seminar (DREAMS)

Spring 2014

The Design of Robotics and Embedded systems, Analysis, and Modeling Seminar (DREAMS) occurs weekly on Tuesdays from 4.10-5.00 p.m. in 531 Cory Hall (Wang Room).

The Design of Robotics and Embedded systems, Analysis, and Modeling Seminar topics are announced to the DREAMS list, which includes the chessworkshop workgroup, which includes the chesslocal workgroup.

Information on the seminar series might be useful for potential speakers. If you have any questions about DREAMS, please contact Armin Wasicek. If you want to subscribe to our mailing list, please drop me a line.

Seminars from previous semesters can be found here.


Wilfried Steiner January 21, 2014
Marc Pouzet February 11, 2014
Natarajan Shankar March 04, 2014
Radu Grosu March 12, 2014
Matt Gerring March 18, 2014
Thomas Watteyne April 08, 2014
Jose Echeveste April 15, 2014
Joseph Ng April 22, 2014

Deterministic Ethernet as Reliable Communication Infrastructure for Distributed Dependable Systems

Jan 21, 2014, 4.10-5pm, Wilfried Steiner, TTTech Computertechnik AG, Vienna Austria.



Distributed dependable systems are omnipresent in our daily lives, and are becoming increasingly large and complex. As a consequence of this trend it is apparent that the correct development of such complex systems requires a sound architectural basis. In the absence of architectures we will either build systems of insufficient quality or will simply not be able to build systems beyond a certain level of complexity at all. The time-triggered architecture (TTA) is a successful example of an architecture for dependable embedded systems as it tremendously simplifies the development of distributed dependable systems.

In this talk we will discuss TTEthernet, a deterministic Ethernet version, which implements the time-triggered architecture. We will introduce how its deterministic behavior is achieved as well as how it can be leveraged by applications as for example safety-related automotive applications. Furthermore, industries in general and the automotive industry in particular often prefer standardized technologies, e.g., to ensure a multitude of product suppliers. Hence, we will also address automotive requirements in the networking domain and how these and TTEthernet influence the ongoing developments in network standardization groups (e.g., IEEE 802.1).


Wilfried Steiner is Corporate Scientist at TTTech Computertechnik AG. He holds a degree of Doctor of Technical Sciences from the Vienna University of Technology, Austria. He is one of the core researchers of the TTEthernet technology and has been the industrial Editor of the SAE AS6802 standard. He is currently also a voting member in IEEE 802.1. He has been awarded a Marie Curie Outgoing Fellowship from 2009 to 2012 hosted by SRI International in Palo Alto. His research is focused on the development of algorithms and services that enable dependable communication in cyber-physical systems and applied formal methods.

Zelus, a synchronous language with Ordinary Differential Equations

Feb 11, 2014, 4.10-5pm, Marc Pouzet, INRIA, Paris-Rocquencourt, France.



Zelus is a new programming language for modeling systems that mix discrete logical time and continuous time behaviors. From a user's perspective, its main originality is to extend an existing Lustre-like synchronous language with Ordinary Differential Equations (ODEs). The extension is conservative: any synchronous program expressed as data-flow equations and hierarchical automata can be composed arbitrarily with ODEs in the same source code. A dedicated type system and causality analysis ensure that all discrete changes are aligned with zero-crossing events so that no side effects or discontinuities occur during integration. Programs are statically scheduled and translated into sequential code by a sequence of source-to-source transformations and the final code is paired with an off-the-shelf numeric solver.

During the talk, I will focus on a recent work showing some scheduling issues in the Simulink compiler and present a Lustre inspired type-based causality analysis to detect instantaneous loops.

This is joint work with Albert Benveniste, Benoit Caillaud, Timothy Bourke and Bruno Pagano.


Marc Pouzet is professor in computer science at Ecole normale superieure in Paris and leader of the INRIA Team PARKAS. His research concerns the design, semantics and implementation of programming languages for real-time systems. He has been the main developer of Lucid Synchrone, an extension of the synchronous language Lustre. Several original features (programming constructs, compilation and compile-time static analysis) are now integrated to the SCADE 6 tool developed at Esterel-Technologies and used for programming safety critical control software. Currently, he is interested in the semantics and implementation of hybrid modelers (e.g., Simulink, Modelica), the design and implementation of a synchronous language with mixed (discrete/continuous) signals, and the formal certification of a Lustre compiler.

Building Assurance Cases with the Evidential Tool Bus

Mar 04, 2014, 4.10-5pm, Natarajan Shankar, SRI Computer Science Laboratory.



Cyber-physical systems combine physical and software components to build systems that operate in the physical world . Since these systems are often safety critical, the software has to be certified to a high level of assurance. Such an assurance case consists of claims supported by arguments based on evidence. The claims, both formal and semi-formal, can either be derived from sub-claims by means of an inference rule, or result from the application of a specific tool or service like a model checker or a test coverage analyzer. SRI's Evidential Tool Bus (ETB) is a distributed platform for defining workflows that produce and process the artifacts used in an assurance case. ETB uses Datalog as its metalanguage for defining workflows and constructing arguments. We present the architecture and semantics of ETB and describe how it is being used to support the development of assurance cases for cyber-physical systems.


Dr. Shankar works on formal verification technologies such as interactive theorem proving (PVS), model checking (SAL), and SMT solving (Yices).

Compositionality Results for delta-Bisimulations

Mar 12, 2014, 4.10-5pm, Radu Grosu, Vienna University of Technology, Austria.



By appealing to the small-gain theorem of one of the authors (Girard), we show that the 13-variable sodium-channel component of the IMW cardiac-cell model (Iyer-Mazhari- Winslow) can be replaced by an approximately bisimilar, 2-variable HH-type (Hodgkin-Huxley) abstraction. We show that this substitution of (approximately) equals for equals is safe in the sense that the approximation error between sodium-channel models does not get amplified by the feed-back-loop context in which it is placed. To prove this feed-back compositionality result, we exhibit quadratic-polynomial, exponentially decaying bisimulation functions between the IMW and HH-type sodium channels, and also for the IMW-based context in which these sodium-channel models are placed. These functions allow us to quantify the overall error introduced by the sodium-channel abstraction and subsequent substitution in the IMW model. To automate the computation of the bisimulation functions, we employ the SOSTOOLS optimization toolbox. Our experimental results validate our analytical findings. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first application of delta-bisimilar, feedback-assisting, compositional reasoning in biological systems.


Radu Grosu is a Professor and Head of the Dependable-­‐Systems Group at the Faculty of Informatics of the Vienna University of Technology, and a Research Professor at the Computer Science Department of the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

His research interests include modeling, analysis and control of cyber-­‐physical and biological systems and his application focus includes green operating systems, mobile ad-­‐hoc networks, automotive systems, the Mars rover, cardiac-­‐cell networks and genetic regulatory networks.

Grosu is the recipient of the National Science Foundation Career Award, the State University of New York Research Foundation Promising Inventor Award, the ACM Service Award, and a member of the International Federation of Information Processing WG 2.2. Before receiving his appointment at the Vienna University of Technology, Grosu was an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he co-directed the ConcurrentSystems laboratory and co—founded the Systems Biology laboratory. Grosu earned his Dr.rer.nat. in Computer Science from the Technical University of München, and was a Research Associate in the Computer Science Departmentof the University of Pennsylvania.

The use of Ptolemy 2 and clusters for data analysis at the Diamond Synchrotron

Mar 18, 2014, 4.10-5pm, Matt Gerring, Diamond Light Source, United Kingdom.



Diamond Light Source is a synchrotron radiation facility conducting experiments in diverse areas such as crystallography, tomography, microscopy, spectroscopy and radiography. The synchrotron machine produces high energy light and requires automated systems to execute experiments because of the extreme environment required. We will look at some of the robots operating in this environment and how data is collected at Diamond. We will also look at how data, once collected, is treated using Ptolemy 2 – based actors. The seminar will include demonstrations of the Data Analysis Workbench or DAWN which is open source software used to visualize and treat data for users. DAWN is a collaboration between Diamond Light Source, the ESRF and EMBL Grenoble.


Matthew Gerring is a software developer and is enthusiastic about Ptolemy 2, Eclipse RCP and design patterns. He works on the DAWN product and manages the DAWN collaboration at Diamond Synchrotron near Oxford in the United Kingdom. He has been a keen Java developer for around 15 years and is a committer to several open source projects, including Eclipse Nebula and DAWN. When not glued to a screen and weather allowing, he can be found outdoors walking with the family and dogs or doing a little fly fishing.

The Internet of (Important) Things

Apr 08, 2014, 4.10-5pm, Thomas Watteyne, Dust Networks/Linear Technology.



The products and standards developed as part of the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution allow small embedded devices to appear as regular Internet hosts, thereby becoming the "fingers of the Internet". The manufacturing sector is leading the way in adopting IoT technology, where it is being applied to energy management, building automation, and industrial process control. While most IoT solutions offer seamless integration into the Internet, many lack the reliability, security and low-power operation required by most applications. This can cause pilot deployments to exhibit poor performance and security vulnerabilities, eventually leading to an adoption rate of the IoT slower than anticipated.

To answer this situation, IoT technology adopts techniques coming from industrial networking. The networks resulting from this convergence enable data to flow over a traditional IP-based infrastructure, but exhibiting wire-like reliability, ultra-low power consumption, and the highest level of security. The resulting "Internet of Important Things" enables the true fusion of the cyber and physical worlds.

This presentation will show how the Internet of Important Things is a reality today. We will start by listing the challenges of building highly reliable and ultra low-power wireless mesh networks. We will then discuss the technologies which can answer this challenge, with a particular focus on channel hopping. We will illustrate this discussion through numerous examples taken from existing commercial products and deployments, and open-source implementations. We will end by introducing the work being done in the new IETF 6TiSCH working group, and highlight the associated open research problems.


Thomas Watteyne is a Senior Networking Design Engineer at Linear Technology, in the Dust Networks product group, the leader in supplying low power wireless mesh networks for demanding industrial process automation applications. He serves as the co-chair of the new IETF 6TiSCH working group, which standardizes the use of IEEE802.15.4e TSCH in IPv6-enabled mesh networks. At UC Berkeley, Thomas coordinates OpenWSN, an open-source project of the Pister lab which promotes the use of fully standards-based protocol stacks in M2M applications. In 2009 and 2010, he was a post-doctoral research lead in Prof. Kristofer Pister's laboratory at UC Berkeley. Between 2005 and 2008, he was a research engineer at France Telecom, Orange Labs. He obtained his PhD in Computer Science (2008), and MSc and MEng in Telecommunications (both 2005) from INSA Lyon, France.

Antescofo, a dynamic language for real-time musician-computer interaction

Apr 15, 2014, 4.10-5pm, José Echeveste, IRCAM, Paris, France.



This talk focuses on programing of time and interaction in Antescofo, a real-time system for performance coordination between musicians and computer processes during live music performance. To this end, Antescofo relies on artificial machine listening and a domain specific real-time programing language. It extends each paradigm through strong coupling of the two and strong emphasis on temporal semantics and behavior of the system.

The challenge in bringing human actions in the loop of computing is strongly related to temporal semantics of the language, and timeliness of live execution despite heterogeneous nature of time in the two mediums. Interaction scenarii are expressed at a symbolic level through the management of musical time (i.e. events like notes or beats in relative tempi) and of the ‘physical’ time (with relationships like succession, delay, duration, speed).

Antescofo language features will be presented through a series of real-world music examples which illustrate how to manage execution of different musical processes and their interactions with an external environment. The Antescofo approach has been validated through numerous uses of the system in live electronic performances in contemporary music repertoire by various international music ensembles.


José Echeveste is a PhD student since September 2011 at the University of Paris 6 and IRCAM, working on the Antescofo coordination language. Prior to this he completed his masters on “Synchronous Strategies for Real-Time Music Accompaniment Systems” within ATIAM Masters at IRCAM. His research interests include interactive computer music, computer-aided composition, domain specific language for music, synchronous languages and timed automata.

Technical and Practical Aspects for Locating and Tracking Mobile Users within a Wireless Local Area Network

Apr 22, 2014, 4.10-5pm, Joseph Kee-Yin Ng, Department of Computer Science, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China.



Indoor positioning technology or the technique for locating a mobile user is the base technology for indoor location-aware computing. In general, there are a large variety of location-based applications and services that rely on an accurate and stable location estimation system such as warehouse management, point-of-interest, infotainment, patient monitoring, mobile healthcare, and customer/consumer behavior analysis within an enclosed area like a shopping mall or exhibition center. Such location-based services play a crucial part in enabling e-commerce, and m-commerce, and eventually a critical part to bring the community to the era of ubiquitous/pervasive computing.

In view of the heavy usage and progressively growing coverage of WLAN within the indoor environment, and the research studies on ways to do WLAN positioning and tracking, there is a need to investigate the feasibility of using the WLAN infrastructure to locate a mobile user as well as to find an efficient and effective way to track users’ behavior and provides location-based services in libraries, museums, shopping malls, and exhibition centers, and to ensure personal safety in hospitals and elderly centers.

This talk will focus on the technical as well as the practical issues on Wi-Fi localization and compare our proposed method with some of the classical approaches in the literature. We will also discuss about how the proposed method is to be applied to an exhibition center in tracking users’ behavior.

We are entering a new era of computing – the era of ubiquitous/pervasive computing where we can retrieve any data from any device using any network at anytime and anyplace, and this is the technology that will bring us a step closer to a more secure and more convenient ubiquitous computing society.


Prof. Joseph Kee-Yin NG received his B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degree in Computer Science all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prof. Ng joined Hong Kong Baptist University in 1993, and is a Professor and the Director of the Research Centre for Ubiquitous Computing in the Department of Computer Science. He is also the programme coordinator of the Computer Science degree programme and introduced Health Information Technology and Health Informatics into the undergraduate as well as the graduate programmes in HKBU. Prof. Ng’s current research interests include Real-Time & Embedded Systems, Multimedia Communications, and Ubiquitous/Pervasive Computing. Prof. Ng has obtained 2 Patents and published over 140 technical papers in journals, and conferences. Prof. Ng also served as Steering Chairs, Program Chairs, and General Chairs for numerous International Conferences as well as Associate Editors and members of the editorial board of International Journals.

Prof. Ng had also served as the Region 10 Coordinator for the Chapter Activities Board of the IEEE Computer Society, and was the Coordinator of the IEEE Computer Society Distinguished Visitors Program (Asia/Pacific). He is a senior member of the IEEE and has been a member of the IEEE Computer Society since 1991. Prof. Ng has been an Exco-member, General Secretary, Vice-Chair, Chair and now a past Chair and Exco-member for the IEEE, Hong Kong Section, Computer Chapter. Prof. Ng received numerous Awards and Certificate of Appreciation from IEEE, IEEE Region 10, IEEE Computer Society, and from IEEE Hong Kong Section, for his Leadership and Services to the ICT Industry. He is also a member of the IEEE Communication Society, ACM, Hong Kong Computer Society, and the Founding Member and Exco-Member & Treasurer for the Internet Society (ISOC)-Hong Kong Chapter. Prof. Ng is also a Director of the Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited (HKIRC).

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