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Millions for research within 'invisible' software

CISS will be heading a new Danish-Chinese research collaboration that aims at making the many software-controlled appliances and systems that we see around us more reliable. The Danish National Research Foundation has allotted DKK 15 million for the research centre.

The Danish part of the project is headed by Kim Guldstrand Larsen, Professor and Director of Aalborg University's Center for Embedded Software Systems. He has high expectations for this new collaboration that builds on an already strong Danish position in embedded software:

- When we pool the Danish strengths in this area we are among the best in the world. By working with very talented Chinese researchers we have the opportunity to get even further along with something we've worked on in Danish and European contexts for a number of years, says Kim Guldstrand Larsen.

The collaboration will focus on the theory and mathematics behind intelligent embedded software systems that we meet every day in an increasing number of contexts without necessarily being aware of it. The software systems control the mobile phone, the ticket vending machine at the train stations and the automatic gate in the parking garage. In tomorrow's home they will also monitor and adjust temperature, heating and lighting, and they will enable the cars of the future to "talk" to each other about road conditions and optimal speed without collisions.

- There is a clear trend towards all these embedded systems in individual devices being made to communicate with each other in all directions in order to figure out how a given task can best be solved. The systems will be part of large self-organizing networks known as cyber-physical systems. They are the backbone of tomorrow's society, so it is important that they are reliable, workable, efficient, error tolerant and resistant to hacker attacks, explains Kim Guldstrand Larsen.

He and his colleagues at the Center for Embedded Software Systems already have a lot of experience with these kinds of challenges, an example being very concrete work with software for insulin pumps where reliability can literally be a matter of life and death.

The joint Danish-Chinese effort will both strengthen the theoretical foundation and improve the practical methods used to model and analyze cyber-physical systems. Although it essentially deals with basic research, the large grant from the Danish National Research Foundation is accompanied by a hope that in the longer term the research results can lead to improved engineering practices and significantly elevate the quality of the developed systems.

The Chinese partner is East China Normal University, and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) with Professor Flemming Nielson is also involved in the project. Thus there is a clear thread to the research that AAU and DTU already work on in the joint Danish research center and VKR Centre of Excellence MT-Lab.
Zhe funding for the new Danish-Chinese research center in embedded software is part of the Danish National Research Foundation and the National Natural Science Research Foundation of China’s joint build-up of information and communication technologies, which is also establishing two other centers. Read more in the official announcement from the Danish National Research Foundation.

Further information and contact:

  • The new Danish-Chinese center is called IDEA4CPS, Center for Physical Systems.
  • Project Manager, Denmark: Kim Guldstrand Larsen, Professor, Dept, of Computer Science, AAU,, mobile +45 2217 1159.
  • Project Manager, China: Huibiao Zhu, Professor, Software Engineering Institute, East China Normal University.
  •  Science journalist Carsten Nielsen, Aalborg University, mobile +45 2340 6554.

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