Elastic Infrastructure to Support Computing Clouds for Large-scale Cyber-Physical Systems

Large-scale cyber-physical systems (CPS) in mission-critical areas such as transportation, health care, energy, agriculture, defense, homeland security, and manufacturing, are becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependent. These types of CPS are unique in their need to combine rigorous control over timing and physical properties, as well as functional ones, while operating dynamically, reliably and affordably over significant scales of distribution, resource consumption, and utilization. As large-scale CPS continue to evolve—and grow in scale and complexity— they will impose significant and novel requirements for a new kind of cloud computing that is not supported by conventional technologies.

Current research on networking, middleware, cloud computing, and other potentially relevant technologies does not yet adequately address the specific challenges posed by large-scale CPS. In particular, the combination of (1) geographic distribution, (2) dynamic demand for resources, and (3) rigorous behavioral requirements spanning diverse temporal and physical scales motivates a new set of research and development (R&D) challenges that must be pursued to achieve new foundations for cloud computing that can meet the needs of large-scale CPS.

To pursue these challenges, cloud computing advances are needed to establish real-time computing, communication, and control foundations rigorously at scale. Likewise, advances are needed to apply these foundations in a flexible and scalable manner to different real-world large-scale CPS challenge problems. To support both foundational and experimental R&D, a new generation of elastic infrastructure must be designed, developed, and evaluated. This paper identifies challenges, opportunities, and benefits for this work and for the large-scale CPS it targets.

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