Tuesday 05 Mar 2013Water Engineering as an example of a Cyber-Physical-Social System

Dr John Brooke - University of Manchester

Harrison 170 14:00-15:00

With the increasing use of sensors and embedded controllers, many engineering systems can now be seen as cyber-physical systems. These systems feature an interaction between the digital world of discrete time logic circuits with the physical world modelled by continuous mathematics often represented as systems of differential equations. Very recently there has been attention paid to the interaction of humans with such systems, since the behaviour of networks such a water and electricity networks cannot be fully understood without understanding the interactions of the human (social) world with the system. I will describe how research at the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester has sought to extend current models of water networks (for example EPANET) by including information from embedded components and sensors (cyber) and the actions and behaviours of the workforce and customers (social). Finally I will sketch ideas for how modelling of water engineering needs to be more radically restructured so that it can fully represent all three dimensions of a cyber-physical-social system.

Bio: John Brooke obtained a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Manchester in 1997, concentrating on the computational modelling of nonlinear processes in astrophysics. He then worked on the UK National HPC service CSAR (from 1998-2001) supporting computational science on what was then the fourth largest computer in the Top 500. In 2001 he moved to research in the UK e-Science programme as co-Director of the North-West eScience Centre from 2001 to 2010 and continues to be an investigator on e-Science projects in the physical and environmental sciences. He has been interested since 2006 in the eScience challenges presented by distribution networks, in particular water and electricity networks, because they represent fundamentally new challenges in distributed computing and computational modelling.

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