The manufacturing world is experiencing what many recognize as “the fourth industrial revolution”, characterized by production lines turning into complex cyber-physical systems (CPSs). This transformation offers unprecedented opportunities but brings a series of intellectual and engineering challenges. The DeFacto (Design Automation for Smart Factories) project aims at advancing the field of CPS design and its automation by developing novel modeling paradigms, scalable algorithms, and tools to aid the design of smart manufacturing systems, ultimately fostering their widespread adoption.
DeFacto’s methodology reasons about systems using reliable compositional abstractions of system behaviors based on assume-guarantee (A/G) contracts. An A/G contract represents the interface of a component as a pair of assumptions and guarantees. Assumptions are the behaviors that a component expects from the environment; guarantees are the behaviors the component promises in the context of the assumptions. Contracts are mathematical models that provide rigorous composition rules and mechanisms to analyze complex system behaviors, validate the design requirements, and develop system components in a modular and hierarchical way. CPSs challenge the existing notions of “modularity”, “hierarchy”, and “separation of concerns” in electronic design. DeFacto rethinks these notions to enable effective and computationally tractable compositional abstractions for industrial CPSs, by blending techniques from formal methods, simulation, and optimization for virtual prototyping and algorithmic synthesis of control software.