Self-aware Cyber-Physical Systems

K. Bellman, C. Landauer, N. Dutt, L. Esterle, A. Herkersdorf, A. Jantsch, N. Taherinejad, P. R. Lewis, M. Platzner, K. Tammemäe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In this article, we make the case for the new class of Self-aware Cyber-physical Systems. By bringing together the two established fields of cyber-physical systems and self-aware computing, we aim at creating systems with strongly increased yet managed autonomy, which is a main requirement for many emerging and future applications and technologies. Self-aware cyber-physical systems are situated in a physical environment and constrained in their resources, and they understand their own state and environment and, based on that understanding, are able to make decisions autonomously at runtime in a self-explanatory way. In an attempt to lay out a research agenda, we bring up and elaborate on five key challenges for future self-aware cyber-physical systems: (i) How can we build resource-sensitive yet self-aware systems? (ii) How to acknowledge situatedness and subjectivity? (iii) What are effective infrastructures for implementing self-awareness processes? (iv) How can we verify self-aware cyber-physical systems and, in particular, which guarantees can we give? (v) What novel development processes will be required to engineer self-aware cyber-physical systems? We review each of these challenges in some detail and emphasize that addressing all of them requires the system to make a comprehensive assessment of the situation and a continual introspection of its own state to sensibly balance diverse requirements, constraints, short-term and long-term objectives. Throughout, we draw on three examples of cyber-physical systems that may benefit from self-awareness: a multi-processor system-on-chip, a Mars rover, and an implanted insulin pump. These three very different systems nevertheless have similar characteristics: limited resources, complex unforeseeable environmental dynamics, high expectations on their reliability, and substantial levels of risk associated with malfunctioning. Using these examples, we discuss the potential role of self-awareness in both highly complex and rather more simple systems, and as a main conclusion we highlight the need for research on above listed topics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number38
    Pages (from-to)1-26
    JournalACM Transactions on Cyber-Physical Systems
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2020


    • Self-awareness
    • cyber-physical systems
    • development processes
    • guarantees
    • organizational infrastructure
    • resource-sensitive
    • situatedness
    • subjectivity
    • verification


    Dive into the research topics of 'Self-aware Cyber-Physical Systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this