EATS is a cyber system, produced by Architected Futures, to assist in the evaluation and enhancement of the effectiveness of system architectures. The principal systems of concern are cyber-physical systems. It is intended for implementation on both a standalone, and a networked, cooperative basis, as an augmentation facility for personal and collective intelligence.
The colloquial understanding of cyber-physical systems, as described in Wikipedia, declares:
A cyberphysical system (CPS) is a system in which a mechanism is controlled or monitored by computer-based algorithms. In cyber-physical systems, physical and software components are deeply intertwined, able to operate on different spatial and temporal scales, exhibit multiple and distinct behavioral modalities, and interact with each other in ways that change with context. Examples of CPS include smart grid, autonomous automobile systems, medical monitoring, industrial control systems, robotics systems, and automatic pilot avionics.
CPS involves transdisciplinary approaches, merging theory of cybernetics, mechatronics, design and process science. The process control is often referred to as embedded systems. In embedded systems, the emphasis tends to be more on the computational elements, and less on an intense link between the computational and physical elements. CPS is also similar to the Internet of Things (IoT), sharing the same basic architecture; nevertheless, CPS presents a higher combination and coordination between physical and computational elements.
Precursors of cyber-physical systems can be found in areas as diverse as aerospace, automotive, chemical processes, civil infrastructure, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, entertainment, and consumer appliances.
The description provided by Wikipedia is useful, but limited. Were EATS to be conceived in 2020, the time of this writing, and the development timeframe for EATSv5, that description might not appear to fit. Especially given the examples provided. But EATS has its origins in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, before the term cyber-physical was conceived, and when most applications of cybernetics were simply termed data-processing. And, the examples, within the scope of Architected Futures, are myopic.
- Architecture relates to how the structure of a system accomplishes intent.
- Cybernetics relates to how systems are managed, controlled, or regulated; and as defined by Norbert Wiener 1948 applies to control and communications in both animals and machines.
- Physical relates to the entire material universe.
From the perspective of Architected Futures, and EATS, Cyber-Physical Systems incorporate the application of algorithms to the achievement of intent in the intentional design and implementation of physical systems by humans. This includes the design and implementation of non-physical systems which are intended as mechanisms for the control or management of other systems which in turn are intended to regulate and control physical systems.
This would seem to create a problem space that is too complex to be able to be understood. Rather, it creates a boundary around a complex problem space which is sufficient to encapsulate it to enable understanding. It also provides a basis for understanding why typical methods for addressing wholeness and completeness are insufficient. When you fracture a whole system into components in order to understand and regulate the component, there are always external factors which influence the system that are left out of scope, and sooner or later, eventually become significant in terms of the effective utility of the isolated component. Problems with effective utility can come from inside the system, or outside the system. If they are internal, they can be understood and managed from the perspective of the intent of the system. If they come from outside, not so much. Effective regulation, the application of cybernetics, requires the boundary space of the system to be drawn such that the system becomes closed, and the components of consequence to be regulated are internal, rather than external. Defining the problem space for the effective management of concerns regarding architectural effectiveness requires the boundary space to be universal with respect to the architecture to be regulated (i.e., regulated toward maximal effectiveness).
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