Nuno Martins

Funding Agency

National Science Foundation




Large-scale systems with societal relevance, such as power generation systems, are increasingly able to leverage new technologies to mitigate their environmental impact, e.g., by harvesting energy from renewable sources. This three-year, $330K cyber-physical systems grant aims to investigate methods and computational tools to design a new user-centric paradigm for energy apportionment and distribution and, more broadly, for trustworthy utility services.

Distributed networked systems will assist the end users of electricity in scheduling and apportioning their consumption. Further, they will enable local and national utility managers to optimize the use of green energy sources while mitigating the effects of intermittence, promote fairness, equity, and affordability. This project pursues a tractable approach to address the challenges of modeling and designing these large-scale, mixed-autonomy, multi-agent CPSes. The intellectual merits include new scalable methods, algorithms, and tools for the design of distributed decision-making strategies and system architectures that can assist the end users in meeting their goals while guaranteeing compliance with the fairness, reliability, and physical constraints of the design. The broader impacts include enabling the automated design of distributed CPSes that coordinate their decision-making in many applications, from robotic swarms to smart manufacturing and smart cities.

The proposed framework, termed Automated Synthesis for Trustworthy Autonomous Utility Services (ASTrA), addresses the design challenges via a three-pronged approach. It uses population games to model the effect of distributed decision-making infrastructures (DMI) on large populations of strategic agents. DMIs will be realized via dedicated networked hybrid hardware architectures and algorithms we seek to design. ASTrA further introduces a systematic, layered methodology to automate the design, verification, and validation of DMIs from expressive representations of the requirements. Finally, it offers a set of cutting-edge computational tools to facilitate our methodology by enabling efficient reasoning about the interaction between discrete models, e.g., used to describe complex missions or embedded software components, and continuous models used to describe physical processes. The evaluation plan involves experimentation on a real testbed designed for zero-net-energy applications.