Project Summary - 2018-2020

(Project not yet started)

Distributed software systems are becoming more and more integrated with our daily lives. This ongoing trend is particularly visible in Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) - networks of cooperating computational devices such as mobiles, sensors, and actuators that bridge ICT processes and the physical world. These networks are usually characterised by (1) their large number of nodes, (2) an extra uncertainty and mobility in the connections, and (3) the interplay between continuous sending of sensor values or movement and the discrete events at precise moments in time.

In these scenarios it is crucial to identify software abstractions for the interactions between distributed components, services, nodes, or devices, that can guide how to cost-effectively develop, manage, and verify Cyber Physical Systems. Within this scope, the key questions addressed by this project concern:

  1. how to specify and verify interaction patterns between large component-based systems with a plethora of devices, sensors, and actuators, taking into account aspects such as continuous behaviour, modularity, and failure, and
  2. how to derive efficient and trustworthy implementations that realise the abstractions for interactions between components.

To address these questions, the main contributions of this project will be:

  1. to develop a paradigm, encompassing foundations, software engineering methods and techniques, to reason about distributed reactive systems in the large, with strong fundamentals grounded on real-time models, dynamic logics, and relational algebra;
  2. to allow the safe reusability of (distributed) software product lines with continuous behaviour, i.e. of software components and connectors with configuration parameters, considering both discrete and continuous time;
  3. to provide a set of tools that will allow these results to be transferred to interested industrial partners and other academics, grounded on the Reo coordination language.

A concrete case-study will be provided by Altreonic, a Belgian company that develops tools and engineering services for trustworthy embedded systems, with especial attention to scalability, distributed operation, high reliability and real- time. This case-study will address the steering of their modular electric city-vehicles - KURT vehicles - from a remote location.


  1. Formal Models for Distributed Families
    (months: 1-24; Grants: MSc-8)
    • Hybrid components – multi-party consensus of continuous functions
    • Real-time behaviour – time constraints to model and verify interactions
    • Variability – using a calculus and (dynamic) logics
    • Probabilities – probabilistic state machines or enriched connector calculus
  2. Distribution of Families of Reactive Systems
    (months: 12-36; Grants: Lic-3, MSc-6)
    • DSL's for large systems with unreliable communication
    • Minimising number of components involved in interactions at runtime
    • Eventual consistency of continuously-evolving variables
  3. Framework for interactive and variable components
    (months: 7-36; Grants: Lic-6, MSc-7)
    • Framework for interactive and variable components
    • Use of web-based technologies
  4. Case-study: Remote Wireless Steering with Kurt
    (months: 7-36; Grants: Lic-3, MSc-3)
    • KURT electric city-vehicles
    • Based on a modular, scalable and fault tolerant architecture
    • Analyse components with continuous behaviour
    • Unreliable network to remotely steers the vehicles


  • Master student (19/20)
    • Runtime monitoring of continuous properties
  • Master student (20/21)
    • 3rd party extensions to the framework motivated by the case-study
  • PhD student (Sep 19 - Aug 20)
    • A monadic calculus of connectors with probabilities
  • PhD student (Feb 20 - Jan 21)
    • Development of models for visually analyse and simulate variable connectors


The project is coordinated at HASLab INESC-TEC, University of Minho. It also counts with the participation of external members from CWI/Leiden University, from SRI International, and from the company Altreonic.

Related Projects

This work is financed by the ERDF – European Regional Development Fund through the Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation - COMPETE 2020 Programme and by National Funds through the Portuguese funding agency, FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, within project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-029946.

Back to top