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Automatically distribute and access knowledge within networked embedded systems in factories

In his doctoral dissertation, Francesc de Borja Ramis Ferrer presents a novel approach for automatically distributing and accessing knowledge within factory automation systems built by networked embedded systems.

The developments of information, communication and computational technologies are enabling the distribution of tasks within different control resources that are networked and working towards a common objective by optimizing the desired parameters. A fundamental task for introducing autonomy to these systems is the option to represent knowledge distributed within the automation network and to ensure access to the knowledge by providing access mechanisms. The doctoral dissertation of Francesc de Borja Ramis Ferrer explores the processes for automatically distributing and accessing this knowledge.

The caption of human knowledge and the representation of that knowledge in a machine interpretable manner has been an interesting research topic in the last decades. A well-stablished mechanism for the representation of knowledge is the utilization of ontologies that allow machines to access such knowledge and use reasoning engines in order to create reasoning machines.

As a result of the latest advances on computational resources, a large number of constrained devices can be combined to build industrial systems. The devices are easily connected to form a network of computational nodes that are dedicated to executing control and communication tasks for the systems. These tasks are commanded by high-level commanding systems, such as Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) modules. The aforementioned technologies allow a vertical approach for communicating commanding options from MES and ERP directly to the control nodes. This scenario allows the breaking down of monolithic MES systems into small distributed functionalities. If these functionalities use Web standards for interacting and a knowledge base as a main input for information, then we are arriving at the concept of Open Knowledge-Driven MES Systems (OKD-MES).

The automatic distribution of the knowledge base in an OKD-MES and the accomplishment of the reasoning process in a distributed manner were the main objectives of the dissertation. Francesc de Borja Ramis Ferrer describes the decentralization and management of knowledge descriptions, which are currently handled by the Representation Layer (RPL) of the OKD-MES framework. This is achieved within the encapsulation of ontology modules that may be integrated by a distributed reasoning process on incoming requests. Furthermore, his dissertation presents the concept, principles and architecture for implementing Private Local Automation Clouds (PLACs), built by CPS.

The dissertation is an article compilation, composed of nine original refereed articles and supported by seven other articles, which are also (co)authored by the author.

Public defence of a doctoral dissertation on Friday, 9 February

MSc (Tech) Francesc de Borja Ramis Ferrer will publicly defend his doctoral thesis titled “An Approach to Automatically Distribute and Access Knowledge within Networked Embedded Systems in Factory Automation” at Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in the Small Auditorium 1 in the Festia building on Friday, 9 February 2018 starting at 12.00. Professor Robert W. Brennan from the University of Calgary, Canada, will act as the opponent. The Chairman is Professor Jose L. Martinez Lastra (Automation and Hydraulic Engineering).

Further information: Francesc de Borja Ramis Ferrer, tel. +358 50 301 3568, borja.ramisferrer (at) tut.fi

News submitted by: Sanna Kähkönen
Keywords: science and research, automation and hydraulic engineering