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A Category-Theoretic Tool for Modeling Cyber-Physical Systems


The ability to compose existing interacting systems into a singlehigher-level system is essential to several emerging transformationaltechnology platforms, such as cloud services, the Internet of things (IoT),and cyber-physical systems (CPS). On a small scale, this has been achievedby data exchange formats, programming language interfaces, and algebraicspecification frameworks. However, a formal account of modularity forlarge-scale systems has been out of reach. Category theory, as a theory of structure and compositionality, stands out as a possible mathematicalformalism for specifying, analyzing, and composing large-scale modularstructures. This SBIR subtopic is calling for a software tool to test thecategorical formalism on a testbed of interacting systems compositionproblems. The software tool should be able to create categorical models ofsystems composition and show that these models apply to concreteproblems, such as those occurring for cyber-physical systems. The work proposed should lead to new generation of tools that will enhance the ability to build, test, and validate this new generation of cyber-physical systems [1].

The goal of the project is to create suite of tools based on category theory to transcend current ad-hoc practices in the creation of large-scale cyber-physical systems. The project will demonstrate the ability to define, build, test and validate the design of cyber-physical systems. Given their possible ubiquity in the future, it is important to have good formal methods that form the basis of design for cyber-physical systems and the internet of things.


Phase I expected results:
Demonstrate the feasibility of creating tools based on category theoretic foundations through exemplars of such a system. Evaluate the market needs and requirements of such tools.


Phase II expected results:
Develop and demonstrate the use of the tools proposed in Phase I, involving potential customers. Develop business plans and a detailed path to commercialization.



NIST may work both in consultative and collaborative capacity in assisting the awardee.



[1] Lee, E.A. "Cyber Physical Systems: Design Challenges", International Symposium on Object/Component/Service-Oriented Real-Time Distributed Computing (ISORC), May, 2008; Invited Paper.

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