Incremental Design Migration Support in Industrial Control Systems Development

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Virginia Tech

Industrial control systems (ICS) play an extremely important role in the world around us. They have helped in reducing human effort and contributed to automation of processes in oil refining, power generation, food and beverage and production lines. With advancement in technology, embedded platforms have emerged as ideal platforms for implementation of such ICSes. Traditional approaches in ICS design involve switching from a model or modeling environment directly to a real-world implementation. Errors have the potential to go unnoticed in the modeling environment and have a tendency to affect real control systems.

Current models for error identification are complex and affect the design process of ICS appreciably. This thesis adds an additional layer to ICS design: an Interface Abstraction Process (IAP). IAP helps in incremental migration from a modeling environment to a real physical environment by supporting intermediate design versions. Implementation of the IAP is simple and independent of control system complexity. Early error identification is possible since intermediate versions are supported. Existing control system designs can be modified minimally to facilitate the addition of an extra layer. The overhead of adding the IAP is measured and analysed.

With early validation, actual behavior of the ICS in the real physical setting matches the expected behavior in the modeling environment. This approach to ICS design adds a significant amount of latency to existing ICSes without affecting the design process significantly. Since the IAP helps in early design validation, it can be removed before deployment in the real-world.

Industrial control systems, incremental migration, model-based design, interface abstraction