Research Line C
Collaborative Networks and Distributed Industrial Systems (CoDIS)
Main Research Areas
During this period, the CoDIS group has grown from 2 doctors to 4 integrated doctors and another associated researcher with a PhD (20% dedication). Currently the group also includes 3 PhD students and a variable number of MSc students.

CoDIS focuses its research activities on the understanding (principles and models) and support (methods, tools, and technologies) for collaborative networks and distributed architectures and systems applied to industry and services.

A large number of new organizational forms have emerged during the last years as a result of the challenges faced by industry, services and the society in general, and are enabled and boosted by the advances in the ICT. Dynamic and highly integrated supply chains, extended enterprise, virtual enterprises, virtual organizations, virtual organizations breeding environments, professional virtual communities, and business ecosystems, represent examples of such trend.

As such, enterprises as well as other organizations and professionals seek complementarities and join their activities in order to participate in a wide variety of competitive business opportunities, for example, in new markets or to reach scientific excellence for innovative developments. Similar trends can be identified within the non-profit/social-oriented contexts, e.g., in incident/crisis management, time banks, elderly care networks, etc.). Simultaneously, at the shop-floor level, a convergent phenomenon is observed.

More and more, manufacturing systems are composed of autonomous (progressively more intelligent) components, interconnected by computer networks forming "coalitions" that need to be easily re-configured as driven by the needs of flexibility and agility. The traditional paradigm of control systems is giving pace to other mechanisms (e.g. coordination, negotiation, fuzzy reasoning, contracting) that are characteristic of collaborative networks. In this context, CoDIS has been contributing to the consolidation of the discipline of Collaborative Networks(CNs).

Main areas of research during the period:

  • Development of a reference model for CNs and contributions to define a sounder theoretical foundation for the area.
  • Development of a theoretical and formal basis for value systems in CNs, leading to a better understanding of the mechanisms of value creation.
  • Applying CNs to active ageing and independent living.
  • Pursuing a unified CN-based approach for distributed manufacturing systems and cyber-physical systems approach.
  • Applying the CNs to other domains, e.g. transportation systems and logistics, and the management of solar energy plants.

Thanks to its role in international organizations, e.g. chairing the SOCOLNET society of collaborative networks (with members in 48 countries) and the IFIP WG 5.5 (Cooperation infrastructure for Virtual Enterprises and electronic business), as well as the involvement in and leadership of some European projects, CoDIS is interacting with a large community of researchers in CNs.

Most relevant collaborations include:

  • University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) - a long-term collaborative partnership, focusing on consolidation of the CNs discipline, its reference model, coordination of SOCOLNET, and joint participation in various projects.
  • VTT (Finland) - joint participation in research projects and organization of scientific events.
  • Federal University of Santa Catarina (Brazil) - joint participation in research projects and organization of scientific events.
  • Poznan University of Economics (Poland) - organization of scientific events and project proposals.
  • Monterrey Tech (Mexico) - joint papers, edition of journal issues, participation in projects and organization of scientific events.
  • Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de St Etienne (France) - joint papers, organization of scientific events.
  • Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain) - joint participation in research and training projects and organization of scientific events.
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