Since their invention in the 1980s, behaviour-based systems have become very popular among roboticists. Their component-based nature facilitates the distributed implementation of systems, fosters reuse, and allows for early testing and integration. However, the distributed approach necessitates the interconnection of many components into a network in order to realise complex functionalities. This network is crucial to the correct operation of the robotic system. There are few sound design techniques for behaviour networks, especially if the systems shall realise task sequences. Therefore, the quality of the resulting behaviour-based systems is often highly dependant on the experience of their developers.
This dissertation presents a novel integrated concept for the design and verification of behaviour-based systems that realise task sequences. Part of this concept is a technique for encoding task sequences in behaviour networks. Furthermore, the concept provides guidance to developers of such networks. Based on a thorough analysis of methods for defining sequences, Moore machines have been selected for representing complex tasks. With the help of the structured workflow proposed in this work and the developed accompanying tool support, Moore machines defining task sequences can be transferred automatically into corresponding behaviour networks, resulting in less work for the developer and a lower risk of failure.
Due to the common integration of automatically and manually created behaviour-based components, a formal analysis of the final behaviour network is reasonable. For this purpose, the dissertation at hand presents two verification techniques and justifies the selection of model checking. A novel concept for applying model checking to behaviour-based systems is proposed according to which behaviour networks are modelled as synchronised automata. Based on such automata, properties of behaviour networks that realise task sequences can be verified or falsified. Extensive graphical tool support has been developed in order to assist the developer during the verification process.
Several examples are provided in order to illustrate the soundness of the presented design and verification techniques. The applicability of the integrated overall concept to real-world tasks is demonstrated using the control system of an autonomous bucket excavator. It can be shown that the proposed design concept is suitable for developing complex sophisticated behaviour networks and that the presented verification technique allows for verifying real-world behaviour-based systems.
Information Visualization (InfoVis) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) have strong ties with each other. Visualization supports the human cognitive system by providing interactive and meaningful images of the underlying data. On the other side, the HCI domain cares about the usability of the designed visualization from the human perspectives. Thus, designing a visualization system requires considering many factors in order to achieve the desired functionality and the system usability. Achieving these goals will help these people in understanding the inside behavior of complex data sets in less time.
Graphs are widely used data structures to represent the relations between the data elements in complex applications. Due to the diversity of this data type, graphs have been applied in numerous information visualization applications (e.g., state transition diagrams, social networks, etc.). Therefore, many graph layout algorithms have been proposed in the literature to help in visualizing this rich data type. Some of these algorithms are used to visualize large graphs, while others handle the medium sized graphs. Regardless of the graph size, the resulting layout should be understandable from the users’ perspective and at the same time it should fulfill a list of aesthetic criteria to increase the representation readability. Respecting these two principles leads to produce a resulting graph visualization that helps the users in understanding and exploring the complex behavior of critical systems.
In this thesis, we utilize the graph visualization techniques in modeling the structural and behavioral aspects of embedded systems. Furthermore, we focus on evaluating the resulting representations from the users’ perspectives.
The core contribution of this thesis is a framework, called ESSAVis (Embedded Systems Safety Aspect Visualizer). This framework visualizes not only some of the safety aspects (e.g. CFT models) of embedded systems, but also helps the engineers and experts in analyzing the system safety critical situations. For this, the framework provides a 2Dplus3D environment in which the 2D represents the graph representation of the abstract data about the safety aspects of the underlying embedded system while the 3D represents the underlying system 3D model. Both views are integrated smoothly together in the 3D world fashion. In order to check the effectiveness and feasibility of the framework and its sub-components, we conducted many studies with real end users as well as with general users. Results of the main study that targeted the overall ESSAVis framework show high acceptance ratio and higher accuracy with better performance using the provided visual support of the framework.
The ESSAVis framework has been designed to be compatible with different 3D technologies. This enabled us to use the 3D stereoscopic depth of such technologies to encode nodes attributes in node-link diagrams. In this regard, we conducted an evaluation study to measure the usability of the stereoscopic depth cue approach, called the stereoscopic highlighting technique, against other selected visual cues (i.e., color, shape, and sizes). Based on the results, the thesis proposes the Reflection Layer extension to the stereoscopic highlighting technique, which was also evaluated from the users’ perspectives. Additionally, we present a new technique, called ExpanD (Expand in Depth), that utilizes the depth cue to show the structural relations between different levels of details in node-link diagrams. Results of this part opens a promising direction of the research in which visualization designers can get benefits from the richness of the 3D technologies in visualizing abstract data in the information visualization domain.
Finally, this thesis proposes the application of the ESSAVis frame- work as a visual tool in the educational training process of engineers for understanding the complex concepts. In this regard, we conducted an evaluation study with computer engineering students in which we used the visual representations produced by ESSAVis to teach the principle of the fault detection and the failure scenarios in embedded systems. Our work opens the directions to investigate many challenges about the design of visualization for educational purposes.
To write about the history of a subject is a challenge that grows with the number of pages as the original goal of completeness is turning more and more into an impossibility. With this in mind, the present article takes a very narrow approach and uses personal side trips and memories on conferences,
workshops, and summer schools as the stage for some of the most important protagonists and their contributions to the field of Differential-Algebraic Equations (DAEs).
The advances in sensor technology have introduced smart electronic products with
high integration of multi-sensor elements, sensor electronics and sophisticated signal
processing algorithms, resulting in intelligent sensor systems with a significant level
of complexity. This complexity leads to higher vulnerability in performing their
respective functions in a dynamic environment. The system dependability can be
improved via the implementation of self-x features in reconfigurable systems. The
reconfiguration capability requires capable switching elements, typically in the form
of a CMOS switch or miniaturized electromagnetic relay. The emerging DC-MEMS
switch has the potential to complement the CMOS switch in System-in-Package as
well as integrated circuits solutions. The aim of this thesis is to study the feasibility
of using DC-MEMS switches to enable the self-x functionality at system level.
The self-x implementation is also extended to the component level, in which the
ISE-DC-MEMS switch is equipped with self-monitoring and self-repairing features.
The MEMS electrical behavioural model generated by the design tool is inadequate,
so additional electrical models have been proposed, simulated and validated. The
simplification of the mechanical MEMS model has produced inaccurate simulation
results that lead to the occurrence of stiction in the actual device. A stiction conformity
test has been proposed, implemented, and successfully validated to compensate
the inaccurate mechanical model. Four different system simulations of representative
applications were carried out using the improved behavioural MEMS model, to
show the aptness and the performances of the ISE-DC-MEMS switch in sensitive
reconfiguration tasks in the application and to compare it with transmission gates.
The current design of the ISE-DC-MEMS switch needs further optimization in terms
of size, driving voltage, and the robustness of the design to guarantee high output
yield in order to match the performance of commercial DC MEMS switches.