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Smart Cities as Cyber-Physical Systems

Seminar | October 30 | 4-5 p.m. | 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

Christos Cassandras, Professor, Boston University

Institute of Transportation Studies, CITRIS (Ctr for Info Technology Research in the Interest of Society), TRUST


“Smart Cities” are an example of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) with direct impact to urban settings, where sensor and actuator networks are deployed to monitor the environment and civil infrastructure. Based on data collected, the goals include improvements in traffic control, energy distribution, emergency response, and location-based commerce, to name a few. Exploiting the ubiquitous wireless connectivity in these settings, a dynamic data-driven resource allocation framework is envisioned capitalizing on recent advances in real-time optimization algorithms which are event-driven and scalable. An application of this framework to adaptive traffic light control will be presented. A number of other ongoing Smart City projects will be described, including a “smart parking” system which dynamically assigns and reserves an optimal parking space for a user (driver); a new framework for energy-aware traffic routing in urban networks, specifically targeting Electric Vehicles (EVs); and the “Street Bump” system in the City of Boston which uses regular smartphone capabilities to collect roadway obstacle data and identify and classify them for efficient maintenance and repair. Lastly, this talk will address the need to incorporate the “social’’ dimension in CPS (possibly referring to them as Cyber-Social-Physical Systems) through proper incentive mechanisms for inducing Smart City citizens to adopt provably socially optimal policies.