Systems research

The modelling, study and understanding of complete systems of autonomous systems (so-called “systems of systems”) is a fundamental research objective. The systems research program is focused on developing quantitative models and formal methods for describing and designing networks of autonomous systems. The main outcomes of the systems research program is the models, tools and methods necessary to design and construct complete networks of intelligent systems.

Research into Systems has two main themes:

1. Modelling

We have undertaken pioneering work in the use of statistical and information theoretic models for describing decentralised sensing networks.

Research in modelling couples these ideas with agent-based and network techniques and focuses on:

  • Statistical models of information gain and information flow between autonomous systems, especially in the description of composite picture formation.
  • The use of expected utility models to describe local agent behaviour and interaction between the goals of many agents, and
  • The development of underlying network models describing communication and cooperation between heterogeneous
    autonomous systems.

2. Design

The ability to design complex systems of systems is essential in bridging the gap between theory and real application. We have an established reputation in the field of systems engineering, and have undertaken a number of industry research contracts aimed at developing systems engineering methods for autonomous vehicles.

These have especially predicated that the design component of systems research focuses on:

  • The development and extension of formal systems engineering methods, especially UML, to describe concurrent intelligent systems.
  • The development of simulation models to evaluate and visualise different design concepts, and
  • The development of software tools to allow efficient mapping and visualisation of application algorithms running in real-time on networks of autonomous agents.