Model-Based Programming of Fault-Aware Systems

Brian C. Williams, Michel D. Ingham, Seung Chung, Paul Elliott, Michael Hofbaur, Gregory T. Sullivan


A wide range of sensor-rich, networked embedded systems are being created that must operate robustly for years in the face of novel failures by managing complex autonomic processes. These systems are being composed, for example, into vast networks of space, air, ground, and underwater vehicles. Our objective is to revolutionize the way in which we control these new artifacts by creating reactive model-based programming languages that enable everyday systems to reason intelligently and enable machines to explore other worlds. A model-based program is state and fault aware; it elevates the programming task to specifying intended state evolutions of a system. The program's executive automatically coordinates system interactions to achieve these states, entertaining known and potential failures, using models of its constituents and environment. At the executive's core is a method, called CONFLICT-DIRECTED A*, which quickly prunes promising but infeasible solutions, using a form of one-shot learning. This approach has been demonstrated on a range of systems, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Deep Space One probe. Model-based programming is being generalized to hybrid discrete-continuous systems and the coordination of networks of robotic vehicles.

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