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Information Services Platform Laboratory

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Cyber-Physical Cloud Computing

This research aims at developing a cloud platform specialized for managing cyber-physical data. Today, widely available ubiquitous broadband networks enable instant disseminations of physical environment sensor data, such as weather observation data, over the Internet. In addition, recent advances of mobile devices, especially like smart phones, facilitate sensing and distributing information about the physical environments observed by people. Examples are text messages, photos and movies on the Web describing what’s happening around people. Moreover, social media like Twitter and Facebook encourage people to voluntarily publish and distribute their sensing data in real time. Now, ranging from numerical observation data to Web contents, a cyber space becomes a vast repository of heterogeneous sensing data. There are increasing demands for managing those cyber-physical data, in order to get knowledge on real-world situations and provide more “actionable” information services to people. Our cyber-physical data cloud will play the central role for collecting, archiving, organizing, manipulating, and sharing very large cyber-physical data.


Executive Summary:

This report is the initial outcome of a joint project between the National Institute of Information and Communication Technology (NICT), Japan and the U.S. National institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). A team of researchers from both organizations collaborated to conceive the Cyber-Physical Cloud Computing (CPCC) architectural framework presented in this report. One of the motivating factors for this research was the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 and the resulting damage. The magnitude of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami highlighted the importance of a robust and reconfigurable disaster recovery systems. Recent advances in information technology provide an opportunity to create smart networked systems for power grids, transportation, and healthcare systems that will enhance existing disaster management solutions. Smart networked systems and societies will result from the emerging network of people, intelligent devices, and mobile personal computing and communication devices (mPCDs). 

There are five technologies that are core to the concept of a Smart Networked Systems and Societies (SNSS): 1) networked computer systems, 2) real-time systems, 3) wireless sensor/actuator networks, 4) social networks and, 5) cloud computing services. A CPCC architectural framework -- defined as “a system environment that can rapidly build, modify and provision auto-scale cyber-physical systems composed of a set of cloud computing based sensor, processing, control, and data services” -- integrates the characteristics of CPS and cloud computing into a single framework, and is a first step in achieving the SNSS vision.

The CPCC architectural framework supports the realization of an SNSS and the appropriate services to users and applications at the appropriate place and the appropriate time via the appropriate devices. This framework supports the deployment of large-scale and data- intensive systems, involving complex distributed decision-making. The benefits of the CPCC framework include: efficient use of resources, modular composition providing customizability, rapid development and scalability, smart adaptation to environment, scalable reliability, resiliency, and performance based on user needs.

The report describes two component systems developed at NICT in Kyoto, Japan that serve examples of existing systems that can easily be modified to support the concepts described in the CPCC architecture framework. The systems are: CPSenS (an information technology platform for on-demand integration of real-world sensing information with cyber cloud systems) and K-L Grid (an information service development platform for utilizing big data).

In conclusion, this report identifies challenges and research areas that need to be addressed to realize the CPCC architectural framework. The research areas include: the virtualization of sensors and actuators, interconnectivity between CPCC services, data integration, knowledge generation, resource orchestration, security, privacy, performance, reliability, resiliency, and metrology.