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Smart Anything Everywhere

Cyber-Physical Systems Engineering Labs is part of the Smart Anything Everywhere initiative.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 644400.

Crescendo and Overture

CPSs are, by definition, cross-disciplinary systems that require input from hardware engineers, software engineers and potentially from other experts. Each discipline has developed its own modelling tools and techniques. For example, many engineers may use bond graphs or physics models to design mechanical and electrical systems, whilst computer scientists can choose to use a variety of software modelling techniques. Both hardware and software modelling techniques rely on a mathematically-rigorous model of the system with sufficient accuracy that it can be used to make predictions about the final system's behaviour. These predictions can be helpful for studying proposed system designs.


Crescendo LogoModelling techniques used by hardware and software engineers are difficult to integrate. As a result, the software constituents and the hardware constituents that comprise a CPS are typically designed separately by distinct design teams, hindering the design of dependable and cost-effective CPSs. A collaborative design process, that brings together the software and hardware models at an early stage, could help with identifying design flaws (e.g., where incorrect assumptions have been made by the separate teams), or for designing complex behaviour (e.g., fault tolerance in a noisy or distributed environment).

Crescendo is a "collaborative simulation" (co-simulation) engine which allows hardware and software engineers to design collaboratively. Each team can use their own modelling tools, but Crescendo allows them to execute co-ordinated simulations at an early stage in the design process. This is particularly helpful for helping teams design and debug complex system behaviour. Crescendo supports software models written in the VDM modelling language, and hardware models created using the 20-Sim tool.

Crescendo Case Studies

You can read case studies of organisations which have evaluated Crescendo previously

  • The Neopost Case Study.Neopost is an SME based in the Netherlands, producing machines for flexible packing of multiformat documents and automated handling of incoming high volume mail. Neopost trialled the use of co-simulation for collaborative design.
  • The Chess Case Study. Chess is a company based in the Netherlands which delivers embedded systems products and design services to a variety of clients. In a case study to evaluate the Crescendo platform, Chess designed and developed the ChessWay personal transporter vehicle, making use of the collaborative simulation features of the Crescendo tool.


Overture LogoWe support a range of modelling tools and techniques underpinned by Overture, a tool designed to support modelling in the VDM (Vienna Development Method) modelling notation. The Overture tool is an open-source integrated development environment for developing and analysing VDM models, written in Java and built on top of the Eclipse platform. Overture forms the basis of several other toolsuites that provide support for a range of modelling scenarios, including the Crescendo toolsuite and the Symphony toolsuite described here.

Further reading

Training in the use of VDM (used to create models of software controllers), the 20-sim tool (used for creating continuous-time plant models), SysML or the Crescendo engine can be provided for experiments targeting this platform. Your experiment proposal should indicate where this is required.

Read more about Overture, and download the Overture VDM modelling tool, at the Overture Community homepage.

The Crescendo approach is described in the book Collaborative Design for Embedded Systems, which is available in electronic format or hard copy, whilst downloadable documentation is available at the Crescendo tool homepage. Crescendo was developed by the European-Union funded DESTECS project and is one of the selected platforms for the integrated tool chain currently being developed by the INTO-CPS H2020 project.

Overture Logo  Crescendo Logo

a line-following robot

using co-modelling technology

Design centre

This platform is supported by our UK design centre.

Newcastle upon Tyne