Understandable Autonomous Systems

Our School undertakes research into a wide range of technologies relevant to the development of understandable autonomous systems. These include: formal techniques to reason about behaviour; methods to analyse human-robot interaction; and the development of robot vision systems and network protocol infrastructure to support robot-to-robot communication and access to edge-compute resources.

Theme Lead: Professor Alice Miller

Banner for Trustworthy Autonomous Systems

Track record - staff

The theme brings together researchers from across the School who are involved in a wide range of projects relevant to the development of trustworthy autonomous systems. These include: formal techniques to reason about behaviour; methods to analyse human-robot interaction; system intelligence and self-awareness; and the development of robot vision systems and network protocol infrastructure to support robot-to-robot communication and access to edge-compute resources. Examples of activities in this area are outlined below.

  • FATA (Miller, Norman, Calder, Andrei, Gay, Dardha, Enright and McCreesh)
    • Development of a range of models for the simulation and verification of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Funding includes a variety of EPSRC IAA awards.
    • Modelling and reasoning about learning robots, satellites and smart railway systems. 
    • Computational modelling and automated reasoning about the behaviour of complex, interactive, and sensor-driven adaptive and/or autonomous systems.  Funding includes BBSRC and EPSRC projects such as Science of Sensor Systems Software.
    • Programming language approaches, especially type-based, to reason about correct communication in concurrent and distributed software.
      Funding includes the EPSRC ABCD project  the EU BehAPI project.
    • Formal data-driven models and analysis methods for interactive systems and social interactions to interpret human behaviour in the context of pervasive, autonomous technology. 
    • Verifiability of constraint based tools for autonomous decision making and scheduling.
  • IDA (Aragon Camarasa, Siebert, Anagnostopoulos, Adel)
    • Robotic manipulation and grasping, chemical robotics and machine perception.    Funded by Innovate UK and EPSRC.
    • Visual sensing and computer vision architectures based on biological systems for control and learning in hand-eye robotics applied to advanced manufacturing and autonomous systems.
    • Distributed intelligence algorithms for unmanned vehicles in resource-constrained environments. GNFUV project funded by EU/H2020.
    • Interpretability of Machine Learning models - in particular for medical applications and autonomous systems.
  • GIST (Brewster, Foster, Chalmers)
    • User interface design for interaction with autonomous systems, including the design of user interfaces for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, the effective handover of control between driver and vehicle, and user experience design for passengers of autonomous vehicles.
    • Models of both human and robotic behaviour and the measurement of the performance of said models.
    • Ethical systems design, especially those using the concept of 'human-data interaction design’. This involves legibility, agency and negotiability with regard to how complex data-driven systems, such as autonomous systems operate. 
  • GLASS (Trinder, Cano Reyes, Pezaros, Singer, Michala, Perkins, Storer)
    • Reliable Scalable Software Systems, many of which use, or reason about, a reliable distributed actor model like Erlang or Scala with Akka. Important application areas are large-scale servers and robots. Supported by a variety of funding including the EU RELEASE project.
    • Providing Machine Learning capabilities to mobile/embedded edge devices (e.g. robots, drones and satellites).  Applications include autonomous navigation, image classification, video detection, speech recognition. Funding includes the EU BONSEYES project. 
    • Measurement-based, closed-loop network and service management mechanisms for adaptive and resilient operation of mission-critical networked systems. Focus is on self-management, self-configuration, self-optimisation, and self-protection properties.
    • Investigation into programming language runtimes with predictable and/or autonomic behaviour (e.g. bounded resource utilization).
    • Data analytics and machine learning on data streams to optimise network  usage, information extraction, privacy, stakeholder access requirements and clearance. Applications include autonomous and unmanned ships and autonomous satellite systems. 
    • Robust and secure network transport protocols for real-time traffic, including audio/visual data; network protocol standardisation; and specification. Scalable edge and in-network computation architectures, funding includes the EPSRC FRµIT project.
    • Development of simulation environments to to model, simulate and explore the
      interaction between complex technical systems, environments and humans. 

Publications

Boudeville, O. , Cesarini, F. , Chechina, N. , Lundin, K. , Papaspyrou, N. , Sagonas, K. , Thompson, S. , Trinder, P.W. and Wiger, P. (2012) U.RELEASE: a high-level paradigm for reliable large-scale server software. In: 13th International Symposium on Trends in Functional Programming (TFP'12), St. Andrews, UK, 12-14 Jun 2012,

He, J. , Wadler, P. and Trinder, P. (2014) Typecasting Actors: from Akka to TAkka. In: Fifth Annual Scala Workshop (SCALA '14), Uppsala, Sweden, 28-29 Jul 2014, pp. 23-33. ISBN 9781450328685 (doi:10.1145/2637647.2637651)

Lutac, A. , Chechina, N. , Aragon-Camarasa, G. and Trinder, P. (2016) Towards Reliable and Scalable Robot Communication. In: Fifteenth ACM SIGPLAN Erlang Workshop, Nara, Japan, 23 Sep 2016, pp. 12-23. ISBN 9781450344319 (doi:10.1145/2975969.2975971)

Giaquinta, R. , Hoffmann, R. , Ireland, M. , Miller, A. and Norman, G. (2018) Strategy Synthesis for Autonomous Agents Using PRISM. In: 10th NASA Formal Methods Symposium (NFM 2018), Newport News, VA, USA, 17-19 Apr 2018, pp. 220-236. ISBN 9783319779348 (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-77935-5_16)

Lu, Y. , Miller, A. A. , Hoffmann, R. and Johnson, C. W. (2016) Towards the automated verification of Weibull distributions for system failure rates. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 9933, pp. 81-96. (doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-45943-1_6)

Cano, J. , Molinos, E. , Nagarajan, V. and Vijayakumar, S. (2015) Dynamic Process Migration in Heterogeneous ROS-based Environments. In: 2015 International Conference on Advanced Robotics (ICAR), Istanbul, Turkey, 27-31 Jul 2015, ISBN 9781467375092 (doi:10.1109/ICAR.2015.7251505)

Loukadakis, M. , Cano, J. and O’Boyle, M. (2018) Accelerating Deep Neural Networks on Low Power Heterogeneous Architectures. Eleventh International Workshop on Programmability and Architectures for Heterogeneous Multicores (MULTIPROG-2018), Manchester, UK, 24 Jan 2018.

Trinder, P. et al. (2017) Scaling reliably: improving the scalability of the Erlang distributed actor platform. ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems, 39(4), 17. (doi: 10.1145/3107937)

Jones, T. , Fairhurst, G. and Perkins, C. (2017) Raising the Datagram API to Support Transport Protocol Evolution. In: 1st International Workshop on the Future of Internet Transport, Stockholm, Sweden, 12-15 June 2017, ISBN 9783901882944 (doi:10.23919/IFIPNetworking.2017.8264870)

Turner, J. , Cano, J. , Radu, V. , Crowley, E. J. , O’Boyle, M. and Storkey, A. (2018) Characterising Across-Stack Optimisations for Deep Convolutional Neural Networks. In: 2018 IEEE International Symposium on Workload Characterization (IISWC), Raleigh, NC, USA, 30 Sep - 02 Oct 2018, pp. 101-110. ISBN 9781538667804 (doi:10.1109/IISWC.2018.8573503)

Rovder, S. , Cano, J. and O’Boyle, M. (2019) Optimising Convolutional Neural Networks Inference on Low-Powered GPUs. Twelfth International Workshop on Programmability and Architectures for Heterogeneous Multicores (MULTIPROG-2019), Valencia, Spain, 21 Jan 2019. (In Press)

Cano, J. , White, D. R. , Bordallo, A. , McCreesh, C. , Michala, A. L. , Singer, J. and Nagarajan, V. (2018) Solving the task variant allocation problem in distributed robotics. Autonomous Robots, 42(7), pp. 1477-1495. (doi: 10.1007/s10514-018-9742-5)

Chechina, N. , Li, H. , Ghaffari, A. , Thompson, S. and Trinder, P. (2016) Improving the network scalability of Erlang. Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing, 90-91, pp. 22-34. (doi: 10.1016/j.jpdc.2016.01.002)

Basford, P. J. , Johnston, S. J. , Perkins, C. S. , Garnock-Jones, T. , Tso, F. P. , Pezaros, D. , Mullins, R. D. , Yoneki, E. , Singer, J. and Cox, S. J. (2020) Performance analysis of single board computer clusters. Future Generation Computer Systems, 102, pp. 278-291. (doi: 10.1016/j.future.2019.07.040)

Cano, J. , Bordallo, A. , Nagarajan, V. , Ramamoorthy, S. and Vijayakumar, S. (2016) Automatic Configuration of ROS Applications for Near-optimal Performance. In: 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Daejeon, South Korea, 09-14 Oct 2016, pp. 2217-2223. ISBN 9781509037629 (doi:10.1109/IROS.2016.7759347)

Anagnostopoulos, C. , Hadjiefthymiades, S. and Kolomvatsos, K. (2016) Accurate, dynamic, and distributed localization of phenomena for mobile sensor networks. ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks, 12(2), 9. (doi: 10.1145/2882966)

Band, E. , Herry, H. , Perkins, C. and Singer, J. (2018) Peer to Peer Secure Update for Heterogeneous Edge Devices (Extended Abstract). Proceedings of the HiPEAC Workshop on Heterogeneous and Low-Power Data Center Technologies, Manchester, UK, 23 Jan 2018.

Herry, H. , Band, E. , Perkins, C. and Singer, J. (2018) Peer-to-Peer Secure Updates for Heterogeneous Edge Devices. In: DOMINO Workshop at the IEEE/IFIP Network Operations and Management Symposium (NOMS 2018), Taipei, Taiwan, 23-27 Apr 2018, ISBN 9781538634165 (doi:10.1109/NOMS.2018.8406323)

Kolomvatsos, K. , Anagnostopoulos, C. and Hadjiefthymiades, S. (2016) Distributed localized contextual event reasoning under uncertainty. IEEE Internet of Things Journal, 4(1), pp. 183-191. (doi: 10.1109/JIOT.2016.2638119)

Singer, J. , Perkins, C. and Herry, H. (2018) Does Disaggregrated Compute Require a New Programming Paradigm? 20th Workshop on Compilers for Parallel Computing, Dublin, 16-18 Apr 2018. (Unpublished)

Maier, P. , Stewart, R. and Trinder, P.W. (2014) Reliable scalable symbolic computation: the design of SymGridPar2. Computer Languages, Systems and Structures, 40(1), pp. 19-35. (doi: 10.1016/j.cl.2014.03.001)

Cano, J. , White, D. R. , Bordallo, A. , McCreesh, C. , Prosser, P. , Singer, J. and Nagarajan, V. (2016) Task Variant Allocation in Distributed Robotics. In: Robotics Science and Systems 2016, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, 18-22 June 2016, ISBN 9780992374723 (doi:10.15607/RSS.2016.XII.045)

Peng, Z. , Lu, Y. and Miller, A. (2016) Uncertainty Analysis of Phased Mission Systems with Probabilistic Timed Automata. In: 7th IEEE International Conference on Prognostics and Health Management (PHM 2016), Ottawa, Canada, 20-22 June 2016, ISBN 9781509003822 (doi:10.1109/ICPHM.2016.7542823)

Peng, Z. , Lu, Y. , Miller, A. , Johnson, C. and Zhao, T. (2016) Risk assessment of railway transportation systems using timed fault trees. Quality and Reliability Engineering International, 32(1), pp. 181-194. (doi: 10.1002/qre.1738)

Cano, J. , Yang, Y. , Bodin, B. , Nagarajan, V. and O’Boyle, M. (2019) Automatic Parameter Tuning of Motion Planning Algorithms. In: 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Madrid, Spain, 01-05 Oct 2018, pp. 8103-8109. ISBN 9781538680940 (doi:10.1109/IROS.2018.8594183)

MacKenzie, K. , Chechina, N. and Trinder, P. (2015) Performance Portability Through Semi-explicit Placement in Distributed Erlang. In: 14th ACM SIGPLAN Erlang Workshop, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, 31 Aug - 2 Sep 2015, pp. 27-38. ISBN 9781450338059 (doi:10.1145/2804295.2804299)

Trammell, B. , Perkins, C. and Kühlewind, M. (2017) Post Sockets: Towards an Evolvable Network Transport Interface. In: 1st International Workshop on the Future of Internet Transport, Stockholm, Sweden, 12-15 June 2017, ISBN 9783901882944 (doi:10.23919/IFIPNetworking.2017.8264874)

Singer, J. et al. (2018) Next Generation Single Board Clusters. In: IEEE/IFIP Network Operations and Management Symposium (NOMS 2018), Taipei, Taiwan, 23-27 Apr 2018, ISBN 9781538634165 (doi:10.1109/NOMS.2018.8406120)

Kirwan, R. , Miller, A. and Porr, B. (2016) Model checking learning agent systems using Promela with embedded C code and abstraction. Formal Aspects of Computing, 28(6), pp. 1027-1056. (doi: 10.1007/s00165-016-0382-2)

Michala, A.L. , Barltrop, N. , Amirafshari, P. , Lazakis, I. and Theotokatos, G. (2016) An intelligent system for vessels structural reliability evaluation. In: Bakker, J., Frangopol, D. M. and van Breugel, K. (eds.) Life-Cycle of Engineering Systems: Emphasis on Sustainable Civil Infrastructure: Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Life-Cycle Civil Engineering (IALCCE 2016), 16-19 October 2016, Delft, The Netherlands. CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, pp. 1891-1898. ISBN 9781138028470

Anagnostopoulos, C. (2014) Time-optimized contextual information forwarding in mobile sensor networks. Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing, 74(5), pp. 2317-2332. (doi: 10.1016/j.jpdc.2014.01.008)

Anagnostopoulos, C. and Kolomvatsos, K. (2018) Predictive intelligence to the edge through approximate collaborative context reasoning. Applied Intelligence, 48(4), pp. 966-991. (doi: 10.1007/s10489-017-1032-y)

Stewart, R. , Maier, P. and Trinder, P. (2016) Transparent fault tolerance for scalable functional computation. Journal of Functional Programming, 26, e5. (doi: 10.1017/S095679681600006X)

Chechina, N. , Moro Hernandez, M. and Trinder, P. (2016) A scalable reliable instant messenger using the SD Erlang libraries. In: Fifteenth ACM SIGPLAN Erlang Workshop, Nara, Japan, 23 Sep 2016, pp. 33-41. ISBN 9781450344319 (doi:10.1145/2975969.2975973)

Panagidi, K. , Anagnostopoulos, C. , Chalvatzaras, A. and Hadjietfthymiades, S. (2020) To transmit or not to transmit: controlling the communications in the mobile IoT domain. ACM Transactions on Internet Technology, 20(3), 22. (doi: 10.1145/3369389)

Valkov, I. , Chechina, N. and Trinder, P. (2018) Comparing Languages for Engineering Server Software: Erlang, Go, and Scala with Akka. In: 33rd ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC 2018), Pau, France, 09-13 Apr 2018, pp. 218-225. ISBN 9781450351911 (doi:10.1145/3167132.3167144)

Stewart, R. , Trinder, P.W. and Maier, P. (2013) Reliable scalable symbolic computation: the design of SymGridPar2. In: 28th Symposium On Applied Computing, Coimbra, Portugal, 18-22 Mar 2013,

Lu, Y. , Miller, A. , Johnson, C. , Peng, Z. and Zhao, T. (2015) Availability analysis of satellite positioning systems for aviation using the prism model checker. In: 17th IEEE International Conference on Computational Science and Engineering (CSE 2014), Chengdu, China, 19-21 Dec 2014, pp. 704-713. (doi:10.1109/CSE.2014.148)

Maier, P. , Stewart, R. J. and Trinder, P. (2014) The HdpH DSLs for scalable reliable computation. In: ACM SIGPLAN Haskell Symposium 2014, Gothenburg, Sweden, 4-5 Sep 2014, pp. 65-76. ISBN 9781450330411 (doi:10.1145/2633357.2633363)

Michala, A. L. and Vourganas, I. (2017) A Smart Modular Wireless System for Condition Monitoring Data Acquisition. In: 16th International Conference on Computer Applications and Information Technology in the Maritime Industries: COMPIT 2017, Cardiff, UK, 15-17 May 2017, pp. 212-225. ISBN 9783892207016

Chechina, N. , MacKenzie, K. , Thompson, S. , Trinder, P. , Boudeville, O. , Fordos, V. , Hoch, C. , Ghaffari, A. and Moro Hernandez, M. (2017) Evaluating scalable distributed Erlang for scalability and reliability. IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, 28(8), pp. 2244-2257. (doi: 10.1109/TPDS.2017.2654246)

Radu, V. , Kaszyk, K. , Wen, Y. , Turner, J. , Cano, J. , Crowley, E. J. , Franke, B. , Storkey, A. and O’Boyle, M. (2019) Performance Aware Convolutional Neural Network Channel Pruning for Embedded GPUs. In: 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Workload Characterization (IISWC), Orlando, FL, USA, 03-05 Nov 2019, pp. 24-34. ISBN 9781728140452 (doi:10.1109/IISWC47752.2019.9042000)

Hoffmann, R. , Ireland, M. , Miller, A. , Norman, G. and Veres, S. (2016) Autonomous agent behaviour modelled in PRISM: a case study. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 9641, pp. 104-110. (doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-32582-8_7)

Johnston, S. J. , Basford, P. J. , Perkins, C. S. , Herry, H. , Tso, F. P. , Pezaros, D. , Mullins, R. D. , Yoneki, E. , Cox, S. J. and Singer, J. (2018) Commodity single board computer clusters and their applications. Future Generation Computer Systems, 89, pp. 201-212. (doi: 10.1016/j.future.2018.06.048)

Lu, Y. , Peng, Z. , Miller, A. A. , Zhao, T. and Johnson, C. W. (2015) How reliable is satellite navigation for aviation? Checking availability properties with probabilistic verification. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 144, pp. 95-116. (doi: 10.1016/j.ress.2015.07.020)

Lazakis, I. , Dikis, K. , Michala, A. L. and Theotokatos, G. (2016) Advanced ship systems condition monitoring for enhanced inspection, maintenance and decision making in ship operations. Transportation Research Procedia, 14, pp. 1679-1688. (doi: 10.1016/j.trpro.2016.05.133)

Peng, Z. , Lu, Y. , Miller, A. , Tingdi, Z. and Johnson, C. (2016) Formal specification and quantitative analysis of a constellation of navigation satellites. Quality and Reliability Engineering International, 32(2), pp. 345-361. (doi: 10.1002/qre.1754)