-Special interview with DGIST Fellow Dr. SangHyuk Son
“In 2006, researchers at the US National Science Foundation (NSF) gathered to discuss the challenges that need to be addressed for the future. In the field of computer science areas, NSF researchers selected cyber physical systems as one of the future’s challenging projects.
According to DGIST fellow Dr. Sang Hyuk Son, the cyber physical systems has gained its research traction in the US in the wake of the NSF gathering in 2006. Cyber physical systems is a more expansive concept than IoT that connects the real world to the cyber world. IoT is moved as ordered by human, however the cyber physical system is more active.
-Bigger Authority, Cozier Life
For an object to make its own decision, it is critical for it to comprehend its own physical characteristics very precisely. For instance, the robot cleaner’s mission is to complete the order received from the owner so that it will move to the designated place and clean the areas regardless of any physical characteristics of the place. However, the robot cleaner applied with cyber physical systems would think about the order for a while such as the situation of the place and any obstacles if any, and so forth. Therefore, it is important for it to realize the physical characteristics from reality into the cyber world.
In the cyber physical systems, Dr. Son focuses on smart vehicles and smart homes. Smart vehicles are expected to make safer and more efficient judgement than humans while communicating with vehicles and infra. For instance, Benz conducted an auto vehicle test with 20 cargo trucks in 2014. Cargo trucks consume more fuel than ordinary vehicles do while changing speed. When decreasing the distance between the cargo trucks by 1m while driving a smart vehicle at high speed, the fuel will be saved by 10 %. Dr. Son said that he dreams to make the auto vehicles drive safe and fast at the intersections without any traffic signals.
The scope of the smart home is very expansive. We are already living in a house full of sensor sets. Using a sensor to comprehend user’s eating habits and sleeping hours, we can develop a smart home customized for the user’s lifecycle. We can also add a sensor monitoring the user’s health status around the clock. He added, “Like Alice in the Wonderland, sooner or later we will living in a world where an object speak to us like a magic.”
-Big Power, Big Liability
With great power comes the issue of liability. Someone who has a grudge against you could hack the smart home while you out of home, and turn on the air conditioner all day. Next month, you will be bombarded with a ridiculously high electricity bill. Who will be liable for this? DGIST Research Center for Resilient Cyber Physical Systems is making diverse research activities to respond to these issues. In order to block malicious hacking from outside, it is critical to quickly sense the strange signals. If there were a system to detect the unusual air conditioning activity while the owner is out, the owner would not have received such an expensive bill.
Even if something happens to the cyber physical system, it might require to do minimal work. For instance, it would cause bigger traffic accidents if you stopped the driving at high speed when encountering a problem. In this case, it needs a reliable, high-confidence system enabling to restore the malfunctioned system for ensuring safety with minimal work. “There can’t be a 100% high confidence system no matter how hard scientists try. In addition, ethical issues will be the name of the game we should carefully consider. Therefore, all society as well as scientists should put our heads together to apply the cyber physical system into our daily lives properly.”
Dr. Son has had his research career in the US for over three decades. DGIST’s wholehearted support and his personal hope to contribute to his homeland moved him to start over his research career at DGIST. He said his network in the US is very useful in working here. The Research Center for Resilient Cyber Physical Systems is working in collaboration with eight research teams in the world including Michigan University, Carnegie Mellon University, and KTH in Sweden. Their collaborative projects allows for graduate students and researchers to share research equipment and data while visiting their respective labs.
Original version of this article appears on the Donga Science