Centers & Research Initiatives

Industrial Cyber-Physical Systems & Dynamic Distributed Systems

Industrial Cyber-Physical Systems


The goal of iCyPhy (pronounced eye-sigh-fie) is to conduct pre-competitive research on architectures and design, modeling, and analysis techniques for cyber-physical systems, with emphasis on industrial applications. Cyber-physical systems integrate computing, networking, and physical components. Applications include transportation systems, automation, security, smart buildings, smart cities, medical systems, energy generation and distribution, water distribution, agriculture, military systems, process control, asset management, and robotics.

The CPS intellectual challenge is about the intersection, not the union, of the physical and the cyber. This intersection combines engineering models and methods from mechanical, environmental, civil, electrical, biomedical, chemical, aeronautical and industrial engineering with the models and methods of computer science and engineering. iCyPhy research is founded on the conviction that these models and methods do not combine easily, and that consequently CPS constitutes a new engineering discipline that demands its own models and methods.

Research Focus under Edward Lee:

  • Model-based design of cyber-physical systems.
  • Highly dynamic networked systems (lifetime management, connectivity, adaptation). 
  • The Internet of things (IoT), swarm systems, edge computing, and smart gateways. 
  • Safety, privacy, and security for IoT.
  • Synthesis and learning for cyber-physical system design and adaptation. 
  • Localization and location-aware services.
  • Software and network architectures for heterogeneous distributed IoT applications. 
  • Integration of learning and optimization into safety-critical systems. 
  • Human-in-the-loop systems.
  • Systems-of-systems design.
  • Semantics of timed systems.

Research Focus under Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli:

  • Contract-based design for CPS.
  • Automotive electronics architecture (sensors, actuators, computing, connectivity, control) design.
  • Security/safety for automotive systems.
  • Platform-based design methodology for swarm systems.
  • Model/Data-driven preventive maintenance of 3-D printers.
  • Model/Data-driven diagnosis for energy efficient buildings.


Dynamic Distributed Systems

DDS is focused on networking technology for next generation Internet applications with an emphasis on how to adapt Internet technology for secure and safety-critical environments and how to manage highly dynamic systems.

Research Focus under Claire Tomlin:
  • UAV Traffic Management
  • Safe Learning
  • Reachability in High Dimensions
  • Societal Scale Infrastructure Systems
  • VehiCal

Research Focus under John Kubiatowicz:

  • Secure Datagram Routing Protocol
  • Global Data Plane
  • SwarmContainers

Research Focus under Alexandre Bayen:

  • Connected Corridors


Human Intranet


With the explosive growth of the ”smart” society, enormous amounts of information are instantaneously available in the enhanced world around us, or the cyberworld beyond. Hence one may wonder if the traditional human input/output modalities have the necessary bandwidth or expressiveness to effectively deal with the increasing pace of an “augmented world”.  One possible answer is to use the same technology advances that have enabled the “sensory swarm” to change, enhance or augment the way humans interact with the world around it and the cyberworld beyond, as well as their fellow human beings and themselves. Envision a “Human Intranet” [Ra15] that harvests the capabilities of all the devices we carry around us, on us, or inside us, to create a single open and integrated platform, opening the door for true innovation and creativity. This platform could help to address how us humans deal with an ever-smarter world, introspect on how well we are functioning ourselves, or even extend our capabilities. While truly exciting from an opportunity perspective, it also raises many questions such as privacy, safety and ethics.


Develop a first-generation Human Intranet, tightly interacting and operating in symbiosis with the human body, providing instantaneous and detailed insights into the dynamic operation of the body, and allowing for direct feedback in closed loop format. Propose, experiment and validate novel operational modalities and human-world applications enabled by the Human Intranet platform.

Research Center Topics:

Learning-based feedback systems - Pieter Abbeel
Flexible and wearable devices ; Energy storage - Ana Arias 
Brain-Machine interfaces - Jose Carmena
Scenarios and applications - Bjoern Hartmann
Motosensory interfaces; Energy harvesting - Michel Maharbiz 
Biomedical interfaces - Rikky Muller 
Low energy wireless - Ali Niknejad
Wearable technologies - Eric Paulos 
Integrated wearable sensor motes - Kris Pister
Networking and closed loop feedback systems; low-energy devices - Jan Rabaey