Research Line A
Group on Reconfigurable and Embedded Systems (GRES)
Objectives
Petri nets have been seen as a very adequate formalism to support development of distributed automation, embedded and cyber-physical systems, as Petri nets implicitly support modeling of concurrency, synchronization, resource sharing, conflict, among others.

Relying more and more on Petri nets centered Model-based Development approaches, increasing usage of design automation tools (including specification, simulation/validation, verification, code generation, and test) and reconfigurable computing platforms are foreseen key contributions of the GRES group to the answers to common questions such as "How to reduce the productivity gap?", "How to reduce the verification gap?", and "How to support reliable distributed execution?".

In this sense, the GRES group aims to put Petri nets in the center of model based development approaches targeted for the development of distributed automation, embedded and cyber-physical systems. For that end, continued integration of theory, tools and applications will continue taking advantage of synergistic interactions, namely through development and enrichment of IOPT-Tools framework, taking advantage of the IOPT-Tools framework as an innovative web-based framework to support embedded and cyber-physical systems development using Petri nets. The framework is in a beta version and dissemination and usage by the international community is planned to the near future. Unique characteristics of the tools framework, such as a Petri net editor, a space state generator and analyzer, as well as automatic code generators, namely VHDL and C code generators for hardware and software implementation, have the potential to be well received and adopted by the international design automation community.

The ultimate goal for IOPT-Tools (and its foreseen enrichments) is: From a Petri net model to deployment into implementation platforms without writing a line of code.

IOPT-Tools also support reusability of modules (as components) as a major concern in the development of embedded and cyber-physical systems, emphasizing on structuring mechanisms for Petri nets models. When adopting a model based development strategy, those modules are associated with specific models (or sub-models). Having module implementations either in hardware (as IPs) or in software (as a library of components) associated with the same model will facilitate the usage of hardware-software co-design techniques allowing partitioning of the system model into different sub-models/components considering specific metrics (normally taking into account performance, costs, energy consumption, among others).

Regarding the application domains, the GRES group intends to be increasingly active in the development of applications for people with special needs, at the cognitive and/or motor level, including the elderly. More specifically, the group aims to develop embedded and cyber-physical systems allowing the use of brain signals (EEG) to control interfaces or as an aid for the use of particular devices. The group is also particularly interested in the development of user-friendly systems for all people with special needs, also, because those systems are often amenable to a model-driven engineering approach.

It is intended to increase collaboration with Portuguese SME companies supporting generation of new products and innovative prototypes, and to promote specialized workshops for industry to support usage of IOPT-Tools framework and its integration within their design automation development flows.

Finally, GRES intends to be increasingly active in the development of distributed embedded and cyber-physical systems, seen as globally-asynchronous locally-synchronous systems. More specifically, these will correspond to distributed networked controllers or wireless sensor networks. This developments will take advantage of Petri nets capabilities to support verification of proprieties, automatic code generation, and deployment into implementation platforms.

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