Doctoral College Cyber-Physical Production Systems at TU Wien
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The current state of the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) has warranted a great amount of attention from researchers of various technical fields over the last few years. The amount of legacy protocols that industrial systems use, their lack of interoperability, and their lack of adherence to any specific design guidelines have brought together an international community of existing and new enterprises, consortia and researchers. This has allowed for admirable efforts of engineering ingenuity that has generated a considerable amount of documented research.

From this research has come forth a large number of protocols, architectures, and definitions of services and interfaces to name but a few of their marvelled contributions. Unfortunately, however, this has created a complex working environment for the industrial IoT, which, unlike what has occurred with the PC standardization process, is likely to remain complex after maturation due to the long lifecycles of industrial systems.

Based on the above assumption, it is therefore the aim of this PhD project to usher in a reduction in this complexity while bringing in novel technological contributions to the field. This is done by addressing several points of intricacies involved in converting existing physical production systems into cyber-physical structures; specifically, through the application of focused research and development at the critical networking layer by attending to the issues of:

  • device and network discovery and enumeration in order to allow for system self-configuration,
  • the use of self-configured semantics in order to enhance self-awareness, including the myriad of implications associated therein, and lastly,
  • automating the use of system knowledge brought about by the previous two points in order to derive and implement coherent self-protective measures that encompass the preservation of personnel, resources, and system safety and health.

This research intends to contribute to the industrial IoT standardisation process via the systematic investigation of this three-pronged approach, and the use of tried and proven architectural and engineering approaches. This research shall objectively strive to do so with extreme fidelity to the all-encompassing aim of ensuring the continuance of a safe, profitable, and technologically sound existence for the future of CPPS.

PhD-Student and Supervision

PhD-Student: Ahmed M. Ismail, M. Sc.

Ahmed M. Ismail is a PhD candidate at the Automation Systems Group of TU Vienna. Ahmed has acquired his Master of Science in Communications and Electronics Engineering from the American University in Cairo. His M.Sc. thesis was centered around developing the hardware, firmware and protocol required to operate a highly constrained Wireless Sensor Network for agricultural purposes.

Since joining TU Vienna, Ahmed has been responsible for researching scalable and secure solutions related to the future of factory communication infrastructures. His work pertains to various system integration techniques for industrial automation systems.

Up till recently, Ahmed has been a member of Orange's World Bank Group Dedicated Customer Service Centre. Mr. Ahmed occupied a shift leader position in a group of a handful of engineers supporting the IPT network of over 120 operational World Bank Group sites. Prior to this, Ahmed has occupied a Teaching Assistant role at the American University in Cairo. He has also interned for Kharafi National, working on the design, deployment and maintenance phases of various engineering solutions involving some of Kuwait's largest refineries and vehicular fleets.

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kastner, Automated Systems Group (E183)