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CCS - Systems Design and Operation

As the design of an industrial system is closely linked to the definition of its control system, the « systems design and operation » topic is associated with automation, production management, industrial engineering as well as embedded and real-time systems.

Coordinator : Jean jacques LOISEAU
Teams : CODEx, CPS3, DSG, STR

A 60-year-old science

The design of industrial systems is inextricably linked to the definition of the control and monitoring system that will make it possible to regulate, correct or even optimize their use, but also to the development of specifications describing the functions that will be performed by the system and the constraints to which it will be subject. The three concepts (system, control, specification) are developed in parallel in detail by partners, customers, design, test or production engineers during the design phase. They often continue to evolve during the system's use phase, to keep pace with technological, market or societal changes. Industrial systems are therefore first and foremost dynamic systems interconnected with their control systems, which must validate a set of specifications. Their design itself is also a complex and closed process, driven by project management methods and involving the definition and validation of achievable objectives.
Their realization emerges from the art of engineering, but the search for methods to organize and regulate complex systems has interested scientists since the very beginning. Archimedes, to quote one of the oldest, invented the odometer, a distance measuring machine, to better organize the movement of the troops of the tyrant Heron II of Syracuse and regulate walking times from one day to the next. He had also studied the optimization of the distribution of weapons and their use within the army. Closer to home, Monge studied the organization of backfilling and clearing works from 1776 onwards. In 1867, Maxwell submitted his thesis "On governors", considered to be the first study of the stability of an interconnected system. The beginning of the twentieth century saw the development of production management and control technologies. The Second World War caused both the systematization of their employment and the requisitioning of many scientists for their development. The following years saw the birth of the sciences of system design and control, with the work of Bellmann, Kantorovitch, Pontryagin, Simon, Wiener, to name but a few of the most famous precursors to the research currently carried out in the CCS cluster.


On the scientific level, the cluster produces its results mainly in the fields of automation and automation, production management, industrial engineering and embedded and real-time computing. He is also active in the fields of applied mathematics corresponding to these first fields of research, in particular in control and systems theory, operational research, theoretical computer science, as well as in some fields associated with applications subject to ongoing research: biomedical, electrotechnical, transport.
At the national level, the positioning is centred on the contour of the MACS GoR, and also addresses those of the CIRP and EMR, RO, SEEDS GoR. The two PSI and Command teams are only attached to the CCS division. The STR team is also attached to the SLS pole, and the IS3P and SLP teams to the SDD pole. Synergies with the SDD and SLS poles are therefore clearly visible. There are also synergies with the RPC poles, in particular through the control or coordination of robots, and with SIEL, for the consideration of the human, in semi-automated systems, and societal and cultural issues. Among the transversal themes, the company of the future is at the heart of the concerns of three teams, IS3P, PSI and SLP, especially through knowledge extraction, modelling and simulation, design, management and control. We note the recent opening towards the service industries, and towards economic or even social systems, which makes the term company preferable to that of industry. This trend is set to continue, with the development of research on business improvement and knowledge engineering. The Vehicles and Mobility theme is addressed by the Command and STR teams from the perspective of the vehicle and the automation of certain aspects of driving, and from the perspective of network design and management in the IS3P, PSI and SLP teams. It will remain important for all teams in the coming years. The theme of energy management and the control of environmental impacts has become an important societal issue that is taken into account in all teams, particularly through applications. The control team is directly involved in issues related to the management of RTE's electricity network, and in developments around clean energy generation, and the PSI and SLP teams are involved in logistics studies for such projects.
Sustainability is also at the heart of the IS3P team's project, and controlling the consumption of embedded systems is at the heart of the STR team's project. This theme is likely to develop and the structuring into clusters should make it possible to detect useful synergies and cooperation, and to make them grow.

Issues and objectives

The scientific issues highlighted in the five team projects have several similarities:
  • A first axis taken up by all teams consists in enriching the models, in order to better respond to the complexity of the models encountered in applications.
  • A second axis mentioned by all is the robustness of the designed system with respect to modeling errors or uncertainties, hazards or behavioural deviations from predictions, disturbances acting on the system.
  • A third axis considered important by all concerns the control of complexity. The aim is to reduce the complexity of methods to enable their implementation, both in online ordering systems or information systems, but also to reduce the off-line design effort of systems.
For these last two points, we focus at the pole level on highlighting these converging problems, in order to benefit the questions of each other's solutions and vice versa. The obstacle to be overcome is the diversity of approaches and the specialization of knowledge, which often makes the points of confluence from one approach to another invisible to research actors, and makes it difficult to meet or confront ideas. It should be noted that the enrichment of the models concerns both the description of the system to be designed and that of its management, or the specification through the description of the problems to be achieved. The problem formulations in continuous automation, discrete automation, formal verification, operational research and industrial engineering are so different that the similarity of the issues is not exploited or even properly measured. At the cluster level, it is necessary to contribute to multiplying information and meetings to help build bridges between the different approaches, with a view to moving towards generalizations rather than new models, and towards a synthesis of the different approaches. The five teams are already very visible in their fields. This collective work allows them to continue to play a leading role both in France and internationally, both by introducing unifying concepts and broader methods of use, and validating them on innovative technologies, and to identify the Nantes cluster as a leader in the field of industrial systems design and management.

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