Computer Engineering Seminar

Cyber-Physical Systems: A Rehash or A New Intellectual Challenge?

Edward LeeRobert S. Pepper Distinguished ProfessorUC Berkeley

The term cyber-physical systems (CPS) refers to the integration of computation and networking with physical processes. CPS is firmly established as a buzzword du jour. Yet many of its elements are familiar and not altogether new. Is CPS just a rehash of old problems designed to attract new funding? In this talk, I will argue that quite to the contrary, CPS is pushing hard at the frontiers of engineering knowledge, putting severe stress on the abstractions and techniques that have proven so effective in the separate spaces of cyber systems (information and computing technology) and physical systems (the rest of engineering). My argument will center on the role of models, and I will show that questions about semantics of models become extremely challenging when the models are required to conjoin the cyber and the physical worlds.

Edward A. Lee is the Robert S. Pepper Distinguished Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) department at U.C. Berkeley. His research interests center on design, modeling, and analysis of embedded, real-time computational systems. He is the director of the nine-university TerraSwarm Research Center (, a director of Chess, the Berkeley Center for Hybrid and Embedded Software Systems, and the director of the Berkeley Ptolemy project. From 2005-2008, he served as chair of the EE Division and then chair of the EECS Department at UC Berkeley. He is co-author of nine books (counting second and third editions) and numerous papers. He has led the development of several influential open-source software packages, notably Ptolemy and its various spinoffs. He received the B.S. degree in Computer Science from Yale University, New Haven, CT, in 1979, the S.M. degree in EECS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, in 1981, and the Ph.D. degree in EECS from the University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, in 1986. From 1979 to 1982 he was a member of technical staff at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, in the Advanced Data Communications Laboratory. He is a co-founder of BDTI, Inc., where he is currently a Senior Technical Advisor, and has consulted for a number of other companies. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, was an NSF Presidential Young Investigator, and won the 1997 Frederick Emmons Terman Award for Engineering Education.

Sponsored by

Prabal Dutta