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Challenges and opportunities in an era of smart CPS - perspectives and reflections on a socio-technical shift
Martin Törngren, KTH, Sweden


The term Cyber-Physical Systems was coined in 2006 in the US, referring to the integration of computation, communication and physical processes. As such, CPS is not a new concept – CPS have been around in the form of, for example, industrial control systems and mechatronic products since as early as the 1970's. However, current and future CPS are increasingly getting smarter, more automated, upgradeable, connected and collaborative, forming advanced Cyber-Physical Systems of Systems (CPSoS). Such CPSoS provide unprecedented opportunities, but also represent unprecedented complexity with their corresponding risks. This course will elaborate on the evolution and characteristics of CPS, providing the following perspectives:

-Their evolution and etymology, relating and contrasting CPS with concepts such as Cybernetics, Mechatronics, IoT/IIoT and Industry 4.0;
-Characterizing CPS w.r.t. their capabilities and complexity - comparing software, physical and data-driven parts of a CPS and their respective platforms. The analysis will also relate CPS to human capabilities and limitations, and identify both limitations as well as opportunities for complexity management;
-Providing a life-cycle and sustainability context to CPS, with considerations for the design of human-centered CPS;
-Considering CPS and CPSoS in the context of a socio-technical paradigm shift (a technical revolution);
-Identifying and summarizing some of the outstanding research challenges related to CPS.

One or more CPS case studies (including highly automated driving) will be introduced to illustrate these perspectives – going from the concrete to the more general picture.


Martin Törngren is a Professor in Embedded Control Systems at KTH since 2002.

He has been a pioneer in bridging the gaps between the fields of automatic control and real-time distributed systems, with a focus over recent years particularly on architectural design, model-based engineering and safety of highly automated Cyber-Physical Systems.

Networking and multidisciplinary research have been characteristic throughout his career. He has spent several periods abroad as a visiting scholar, including 2011/12 at UC Berkeley, spring 2018 at Stevens Institute of Technology, and fall 2018 at UC Berkeley. He is the principal initiator and Director of the Innovative Centre for Embedded Systems – ICES - a KTH-industry competence network launched in 2008, and will be the director for the new KTH and industry center on Trustworthy Edge Computer Systems and Applications – to be launched in spring 2020 in Sweden (for more information, see here:

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