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Control of Heterogeneous Automation Systems:\nTechnologies for scalability, reconfigurability and security (CHAT)
Start date: Sep 1, 2008, End date: Aug 31, 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Scalability, reconfigurability, and security are three aspects of paramount importance in developing efficient, predictable and safe control architectures for large-scale networked industrial automation. CHAT is about developing core components (algorithms, protocols and procedures) of the next-generation of distributed control systems, able to tackle the supervision and control of larger and more complex plants while drastically reducing infrastructure, maintenance and reconfiguration costs. The concept at the core of CHAT is that of an embedded control design space, where fundamental research questions on the performance achievable by a certain subsystem with a given quality of networked control, can be formalized and investigated. The general goal is to encapsulate subsystems in automation components integrating seamlessly into more abstract levels of the Distributed Control architecture: the challenge is to evaluate what is the exact amount of decentralized control capabilities to be embedded in the component, which makes modularization and abstraction possible.The daring ambition of the methodology to be developed in CHAT is to provide a unified approach to a variety of problems arising in industrial automation and beyond, ranging from process control to manufacturing supervision. However, the project is grounded in a very concrete setting and centred on the industrial case of paper factories, where large-scale networked automation is integrated from the initial continuous process control stage through the end-of-line manufacturing and warehousing of consumer products.

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