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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.

INTO-CPS: an integrated tool chain for CPS design

The INTO-CPS technology is an emerging tool chain for the design of cyber-physical systems. INTO-CPS builds on the Crescendo platform and adopts the FMI standard (Functional Mock-up Interface) for co-simulation. This means that INTO-CPS can co-simulate larger models, using a wider variety of tools compared to Crescendo, and that new modelling tools can be integrated more easily. In addition to co-simulation, the INTO-CPS tool chain will allow for test automation, design space exploration (DSE), hardware-in-the-loop simulation, and code generation.


The core of INTO-CPS is an FMI-compliant Co-simulation Orchestration Engine (COE) that enables a co-ordinated simulation of heterogeneous "collaborative models" (co-models). INTO-CPS co-models can be built from multiple constituent models using different formalisms, including both continuous-time (CT) and discrete-event (DE) models. These constituent models are packaged into FMUs (Functional Mock-up Units), which partake in a co-simulation. Communication between the constituent model is handled by the COE, which implements a so-called "master algorithm". The collaborative modelling techniques supported by INTO-CPS allow models created using different formalisms to be developed side-by-side.. Co-modelling and co-simulation allow semantically diverse models to be integrated in order to check emergent behaviours of the complete system against key properties. Co-modelling also allows designers to trade-off cyber and physical elements of designs, and reduce reliance on physical prototypes, because design choices can be explored more quickly and easily before a prototype is built.

While INTO-CPS supports co-simulation with any FMI-compliant FMU, the tool chain includes additional support for the creation of FMUs from:

  • CT models which are expressed in Hybrid differential algebraic equations (DAEs), using Open Modelica and bond graphs in 20-sim, and
  • DE models expressed in VDM (Vienna Development Method) using the Overture tool
Integration of other notations and tools is designed to be a lightweight process through the use of standard protocols. This includes FMI itself, as well as the W3C JSON, which is used for data exchange. .

The INTO-CPS tool chain

The COE exists as part of a tool chain designed to support the entire CPS design process. The INTO-CPS project is developing a SysML profile and tool implementation for defining cyber-physical systems as collections of "cyber" (i.e., software-oriented) and physical sub-systems, that are used to automate configuration of the COE. The tool chain allows all or part of a co-model to be replaced by real hardware, or by actually delivered software, for co-simulations, so that as development proceeds and some aspects of the system are delivered, the simulations can take account of the most recent delivery. The tool chain also includes automated model-based testing of both co-models and their final realisations.

The UK Design Centre is developing methods and guidance for CPS design, supported by co-simulation. This extends to enhancing the INTO-CPS COE with tools and methods that support Design Space Exploration (DSE). DSE is a technique in which multiple co-simulations are executed with varying parameters, in order to assess the impact of design choices. In particular the UK design centre is investigating how to improve the efficiency of DSE by reducing the design space both before and during exploration, and how to assess results in order to find optimal designs. The Design Centre also has an interest in modelling faulty behaviours, in both physical and cyber components, and in using co-simulation to design and test error detection and recovery mechanisms.

Further reading

The INTO-CPS tool chian is currently under development in a Horizon 2020 project of the same name. The INTO-CPS homepage provides further details and materials, and details for joining the INTO-CPS mailing list.

FMI is an emerging third-party standard for exchanging data between design tools.


artist's impression of Science Centrel, Newcastle upon Tyne

photo of tram in Nice, France, by https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Myrabella

photo of autonomous farm vehicle

photo of gauges in a car

Design centre

This platform is supported by our UK design centre.

Newcastle upon Tyne