University of Minnesota
Software Engineering Center

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Modeling and Requirements on the Physical Side of Cyber-Physical Systems

Date of Publication: 
May 2013
Associated Research Groups: 

In a cyber-physical system (a system where the physical world interacts extensively with—often networked— software), the physical portion of the system resides in the continuous and continual domain. Thus, on the physical side of cyber-physical systems we will have to contend with not only real time requirements but also the continuous and continual nature of the system.

This poses a new set of challenges for requirements engineering; we must write well defined requirements to address crucial issues not commonly addressed in the software domain. For example, the rate of change of a controlled variable, the time it takes for a controlled variable to settle sufficiently close to a set-point, and the cumulative errors built up over time may be of critical importance. In this paper we outline how early modeling in the continuous domain serves as a crucial aid in the elicitation and discovery of requirements for cyber-physical systems and provide an initial classification of the types of requirements needed to describe crucial aspects of the physical side of a cyber-physical system.

Second International Workshop on the Twin Peaks of Requirements and Architecture, International Conference on Software Engineering, San Francisco, 2013.