CS-591 - Spring 2018

We do not always realize it, but we live surrounded by machines that augment our abilities by shaping the physical world around us at the press of a button. What supports our modern society and ordinary life is a computing infrastructure (cyber-) that is strongly intertwined with the real world (-physical). Cyber-physical systems are the focus of this course. From toasters to defibrillators; from laundry machines to fighter jets; from elevators to a Mars lander. We are going to explore the formidable challenges that arise when the results of computation immediately affect humans and their environment. We will touch on robustness, fault-tolerance and recovery, certification of safety-critical systems, worst-case performance analysis, and challenges in sense-control-actuate loops. At some point we may end up into ethical discussions of the type: "the fact that we can, does it mean we should?".

You will be asked to read and critically judge seminal and/or recent research-level results on Cyber-Physical Systems. You will also be in charge of accomplishing tangible progress on a research-grade project. Reading, understanding and actively participating to the discussion on papers, as well as demonstrating that you have approached a meaningful challenge in CPS, and that you have made serious progress toward a solution will determine your grade for this course. In summary, you will be asked to: read, discuss, present, and build.

Course Material: the paper reading list is your best friend for this course. It groups a list of papers that will be explored throughout this course. As we assign speakers to papers, the list will also record which paper was/will be presented by which student. The list will be made available before the semester starts, and you will have a few weeks to propose changes to the list. Changes can include: the order in which we cover topics/papers; the papers to read; the speaker(s) for a certain paper.> Reading List


  • CAS CS-210: Programming and basic software/hardware interface concepts.
  • CAS CS-350: Basics of system modeling and performance analysis; understanding of resource scheduling.
  • Please contact the instructor(s) ahead of time if you do not satisfy any of these prerequisites.

Credit Hours: 4

Course Objectives: the typical abilities that students are expected to acquire with this course are summarized below:

  • reading a research paper and summarizing its content;
  • critically determining the contribution of a research paper;
  • identifying strengths and weaknesses of a research work;
  • being able to present the results of a refereed publication;
  • sustaining a peer-review discussion about the validity of proposed publications;
  • identifying a research challenge and possible approaches to tackle it;
  • presenting achieved progress on independent research work;
  • independently overcoming obstacles as they present themselves during the research process;

Full Syllabus