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

Proc. of Local Computer Networks Conference, Demonstrations, (LCN'11), page 1--3.
October 2011
Reducing Outage Probability Over Wireless Channels Under Hard Real-time Constraints
Proc. of Workshop on Real-Time Wireless For Industrial Applications (RealWIN'11), page 1 -6.
April 2011
Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on OMNeT++ (OMNeT++'11), Barcelona, Spain, page 359-366.
Publisher: ICST, Brussels, Belgium
March 2011
ISBN: 978-1-936968-00-8
Christian Dombrowski, Daniel Willkomm and Adam Wolisz
Is High Quality Sensing Really Necessary for Opportunistic Spectrum Usage?
Proc. of IEEE Global Telecommunications Conference (GLOBECOM'10), page 1--6.
Publisher: IEEE,
December 2010
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