Time-Constrained Integrated Management of Large-Scale Systems

TIMELY - 8491

Keywords time-critical systems, transport systems, distribution systems

Start Date: 06-JUL-93 / Duration: 36 months

[ contact / participants ]

Objectives and Approach

The objective of TIMELY is to develop a highly innovative approach to the integrated time-critical management of large-scale transport networks. This represents a large class of applications that share a common set of problem characteristics, thereby making a generic solution possible. It includes the transportation of energy, materials and people. Currently no common approach is available for these transportation networks. Such systems are characterised by a large number of interconnected but basically simple components. However, during abnormal operating situations, the associated sensors produce copious data, often within a relatively short period of time, making rational reaction difficult.

The overall management of these networks consists of three basic tasks:the detection of abnormal conditions, the identification of causes, and the determination of suitable remedial action. At present these tasks are treated separately, using a range of different methods ranging from human network controllers to rule-based diagnostic techniques, making coordination of these tasks difficult. The TIMELY project aims to develop a complete management system for transportation networks that integrates the basic tasks of detection, diagnosis and remedial action within an environment for handling time-constrained reasoning. This will be driven by the development of two important applications that reflect important market sectors:

Each application will result in a significant pre-product addressing these important market sectors. The applications will be developed as implementations of a generic approach that will be used, within the final phase of the project, to produce a generic system for the management of transportation networks.

The time-critical nature and generality required of the above strategic objectives requires several important technical innovations. Generality will be obtained by utilising Models-Based Reasoning (MBR) techniques that utilise an explicit model of the network. This will build on the important architecture and tools for model based diagnosis developed within the ARTIST project (5143) but will be extended to included detection and remedial action within an integrated MBR framework. The time-critical nature of these applications requires that a mechanism for Time-Constrained Reasoning (TCR) for MBR be developed. We will extend the tasks within a real-time scheduler. Further multiple model descriptions, at various levels of abstraction and approximation, will be used to provide a progressive reasoning capability that will allow the best possible diagnosis, and consequent remedy, to be produced within the prescribed time-constraint of the application. This work will be entirely novel. Such a system will be significantly in advance of anything currently available world-wide and will consolidate the technical advances made in many previous ESPRIT projects, giving the EC a strong competitive advantage in the important market of Software Intensive Systems for industrial applications.

Within the project, demonstrators will be developed in the application domains of Electricity Transmission networks and the distribution of gas and vapours within petrochemical refineries.

These applications will be used by members of the consortium (ENEL and CEPSA) and are expected to result in improved operation of their plants, particularly with regard to the faster restoration of normal service following complex fault situations. In addition to the economical advantages derived, the security and safety of plant operation will be improved.

Further exploitation of the results of the project will be by means of extending the application within ENEL and CEPSA. TIMELY will also be marketed, through licenses and system implementation, by the supplier companies within the consortium (Ferranti and Landis & Gyr) to other end users within the identified domains and, because of the generic nature of the solution, operators of other forms of transportation networks.

Further information about TIMELY is available from the TIMELY home page <URL:http://www.cee.hw.ac.uk/~ara/timely.html>.


Mr Francis Rodney Belch
Concord Business Park
UK - Manchester M22 5LA
tel: + 44/61-4999900


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TIMELY - 8491, December 1993

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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook