Cyber-Physical Systems Group

"Making the interconnected world work in a flexible and efficient, but safe and reliable manner to the benefit of society"

Cyber-physical Systems that combine the physical world with the virtual world are starting to play an ever more important role in our daily lives. In this research group, we're looking at the fundamental concepts and challenges to realize the vision of an interconnected world. In particular, we focus on industrial communication systems.

In contrast to human-to-human communication, communication between machines requires a fundamentally new approach. While humans are inherently able to cope with imperfections in communication, machines require predictability. This covers aspects of correctness, latency, and context sensitivity, but also new sensing paradigms.

In our group, we especially focus on (safety-)critical industrial applications (Industry 4.0), but also on enabling new simulation methodologies for complex networked systems. Solving the fundamental challenges in these areas therefore enables the Internet of Everything.

Hot Topics

  • In-network processing techniques for industrial control
    • Co-design approaches
    • Predictable system behavior
    • Theoretical and practical limits
  • Low-latency ultra-reliable wireless systems
    • Network design
    • Reliability-enhancing strategies
    • Theoretical and practical limits
  • Systems engineering and tool development
    • Replacement of Expected Values (mean), with hard guarantees
    • Guided design

Methodology and Tools

To convince stakeholders, new approaches need a solid base in theory, but – more importantly – also need validation and demonstration in practical prototypes. This leads to the following design circle.

  1. Requirements analysis
  2. Analytical studies using abstract models
  3. Simulations and/or verification
  4. Real-world experiments
  5. Start over


Current Projects

  • CONSENT: Conformance-driven and Auto-configured Security for Home and Industrial Networks
    (within the NRW Postgraduate Training Programme)
  • Internet of Production: Technical foundations enabling cross-domain collaboration in production
    (Interdisciplinary Cluster of Excellence)
  • REFLEXES: A Co-Designed Architecture for In-Network Control
    (DFG within Priority Program 1914 "Cyber-Physical Networking")

Selected Past Projects

  • FootPath: Infrastructure-less indoor navigation on smartphones
  • HODRIAN: Development of a frequency agile, decentralized, reliable wireless system
  • KoI: Development of a centralized, reliable, 1ms wireless system
  • MemoSim: Avoiding of Redundant Computations in Simulation Parameter Studies by Memoization
    (DFG project)
  • PREserv: Privacy Enhanced Sensing, Encoding, Relaying & Visualization
  • Psychologist in a Pocket: Mental health (depression) screening on smartphones
  • RatPack: Analysis of animal ecological and social networks with programmable sensor nodes
  • WARPsim: A code-transparent simulation environment for WARP devices

Available Theses

The Cyber-Physical Systems Group always has a range of thesis topics available for motivated and talented students. An excerpt of available theses can be seen from inside the RWTH University network.

Group publications

Andreas Schumacher, Christian Dombrowski and James Gross
A Code-transparent MAC Simulator for WARP
Proc. of European workshop on testbed based wireless research
November 2014
Proceedings of the 9th ACM MobiCom Workshop on Challenged Networks (CHANTS 2014), Maui, USA, page 1-8.
Publisher: ACM,
September 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4503-3071-8
Proceedings of the 1st OMNeT++ Community Summit, Hamburg, Germany
Publisher: Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States
September 2014
Proceedings of the 7th International ICST Conference on Simulation Tools and Techniques (SIMUTools'14), Lisbon, Portugal, page 31-40.
Publisher: ICST, Brussels, Belgium
March 2014
ISBN: 978-1-63190-007-5
Christian Dombrowski, Neda Petreska, Simon Görtzen, Anke Schmeink and James Gross
Energy-Efficient Multi-Hop Transmission for Machine-to-Machine Communications
11th International Symposium on Modeling and Optimization in Mobile, Ad Hoc and Wireless Networks (WiOpt 2013), page 341-348.
May 2013
Elias Weingaertner, René Glebke and Alexander Hocks
Benchmarking Peer-to-Peer Systems Understanding Quality of Service in Large-Scale Distributed Systems
In Effelsberg, Wolfgang and Steinmetz, Ralf and Strufe, Thorsten, editor, Volume 7847 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Chapter Content Delivery Overlays, page 69-79.
Publisher: Springer,
ISBN: 978-3-642-38672-5
10. Praxis der Informationsverarbeitung und Kommunikation (PIK Journal), 35(4):297--304
November 2012
ISSN: 0930-5157
Proceedings of The Ninth IEEE International Conference on Mobile Ad-hoc and Sensor Systems (IEEE MASS 2012), October 8-11 2012, Las Vegas, NV, USA, page 10 S..
Publisher: IEEE Computer Society, Washington, DC, USA
October 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4673-2433-5
Mirko Stoffers and George Riley
Proceedings of the 20th Annual Meeting of the IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Modeling, Analysis and Simulation of Computer and Telecommunication Systems (MASCOTS'12), Washington D.C., USA, page 61--67.
Publisher: IEEE,
August 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4673-2453-3
Mirko Stoffers and George Riley
Proceedings of the 26th ACM/IEEE/SCS Workshop on Principles of Advanced and Distributed Simulation (PADS'12), Zhangjiajie, China, page 111--119.
Publisher: IEEE,
July 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7695-4714-5
Building a modular BitTorrent model for ns-3
Proceedings of the 2012 workshop on ns-3 (WNS3 2012), 26 March 2012, Desenzano del Garda, Italy , page 373-344.
Publisher: ICST, Brussels, Belgium
March 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4503-1510-4
Proceedings of the 5th International ICST Conference on Simulation Tools and Techniques (SIMUTools'12), Desenzano del Garda, Italy, page 119-128.
Publisher: ICST, Brussels, Belgium
March 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4503-1510-4
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