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SafeTRANS Gespräche: Frédéric Loiret, KTH

"End-users are benefiting most of interoperable development enviroments."

Von der Forschung in die Industrie: Frédéric Loiret begleitet seit Jahren die Entwicklung hin zu interoperablen Werkzeugen.

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Um Entwicklungswerkzeuge für Embedded Sytsems interoperabel zu gestalten, müssen Endanwender, Tool-Hersteller und Forschungsinstitute eng zusammenarbeiten. In diversen europäischen FuE-Projekten wurde mit der Entwicklung der IOS, der Interoperability Specification, der Grundstein für eine standardisierbare Spezifikation gelegt (siehe Artikel in dieser Ausgabe). In die (Vor-)Arbeiten im Rahmen der IOS war und ist Dr. Frédéric Loiret durch sein Mitwirken in einschlägigen europäischen FuE-Projekten fest eingebunden (z.B. CESAR, CRYSTAL). Unter anderem ist er mit KTH Partner im EU-Projekt CP-SETIS. CP-SETIS wird in diesem Sommer enden. Im Gespräch erläutert Frédéric Loiret sein Resümee. (Das Interview wurde in englischer Sprache geführt.)

Frédéric, how do you see the development of the IOS over the last years?
Frédéric Loiret: The IOS has been a hot topic within the ARTEMIS eco-system, pioneered in 2009 by the CESAR and iFEST projects with the idea to establish the cornerstone principles of a standardized and cross-domain integration approach for engineering tools and data. With such an ambitious goal in mind, it has been required to build up a common understanding of the end-users’ integration needs and to reach consensus across a wide range of stakeholders regarding technical issues and adoption of standards, the more so across project consortia (in multiple projects from the ARTEMIS eco-system, but also more recently within the ITEA community as well). In this context, the development of the IOS has gone through an iterative and continuous process, leveraging on an increasing momentum brought by these European initiatives. Presently, the cornerstone principles of the IOS are widely accepted, constituting a cross-projects baseline on which further project specific enhancements of the IOS are being developed.

What has been reached in CP-SETIS?
The initial goal of CP-SETIS, as a lightweight coordination action, has been to define the shape and future contributions of a cross-projects forum for perpetrating the activities and results of the IOS. Within CP-SETIS, we reached a consensus among our core partners on the way such a forum (called ICF, for “IOS Cooperation Forum) could be executed. Recently, ARTEMIS-IA (the ARTEMIS Industry Association) decided to support and incubate under the guidance of its Standardisation Working Group our ICF, thus validating our ICF execution model and acknowledging the benefits it would bring to our community.
Within CP-SETIS has also been released our Standardization Agenda, which is being handed over to ARTEMIS-IA. Besides providing many updates about emerging standards in the field of Embedded, Cyber-Physical Systems, and Internet-of-Things, the agenda also describes the way the so-called “Multi-Standards” like the IOS can be handled for efficient standardization. Indeed, this idea has initially emerged in the CRYSTAL project, acknowledging the fact that nowadays complexity for system development cannot be covered by a single interoperability standard anymore, but by a set of standards with potential bridges between them, i.e., towards “Standards Federation”. Within CP-SETIS, we finally formalized this idea in our ICF proposal period.

For whom is the IOS most useful?
The first key stakeholders who are benefiting of the IOS are the end-users, in particular medium to large organizations developing software-intensive CPS systems. Indeed, these organizations, whatever their application domains (e.g., transportation, healthcare or aerospace), all share common challenges when it comes to interoperability of their development environments: their development teams are highly distributed, their needs for continuous engineering is drastically increasing for speeding-up the product validation phases and its delivery on the market. Not to mention the incredible diversity of legacy tools used in these organizations that have to be smoothly integrated in order to manage all aspects of product development. The IOS has the goal to address these challenges, especially by leveraging on a multi-standards approach. Finally, tool providers would also largely benefit from a wide adoption of the IOS by bringing them new business opportunities for integrating and selling their engineering tools and integration solutions.

What would be further steps to establish the IOS in the industrial context?
In order to foster industrial take-up of the IOS, it is important to demonstrate its implementation and use in pragmatic integration scenarios and best practices from the industry. For such demonstrators, our energy has to be focused in hiding the technical concerns of the IOS and rather focus on the real business value it brings to these end-users, and throughout the value-chain of the product development lifecycle. Another key aspect would also consist in demonstrating to end-users that adopting the IOS would drastically reduce the likelihood to get locked-in by proprietary data standards and processes. That’s also why the ICF will contribute to incubate new R&D projects in which such use cases will be demonstrated.

ARTEMIS-IA will establish a new Working Group for the ICF. What are the goals of this Working Group?
The ICF will be setup as a cooperation platform in which all IOS stakeholders – end-users developing CPS, tool providers, research organizations, and standardization bodies – will meet to synchronize and coordinate their IOS activities. The main goals of this group will be to collect and make available the various chapters of the IOS, provide some basic support to the stakeholders willing to take it up, give organizational support for organizations and R&D projects willing to contribute to the IOS, and building-up its community in order to guarantee its sustainability. Finally, an important aspect of the ICF will also be to incubate new R&D projects for which work packages would address specific engineering concerns of the IOS.

How will be the Working Group ICF structured and organised?
These issues are now being discussed with ARTEMIS-IA. However, our proposal is to setup the ICF as a lightweight structure, providing mostly information and facilitating IOS related activities to stakeholders. In CP-SETIS, we also proposed a lightweight governance model and process for handling new contributions to the IOS, and for assessing their maturity. How this will be concretely implemented in the ICF is still being discussed.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge of the Working Group ICF?
The ICF will be implemented as a lightweight structure, and will therefore be working with limited resources. In consequence, until the ICF potentially comes up in the future with its own business model, the sustainability of the ICF will still remain on direct investments from our partners for contributing to the technical content of the IOS, and via the setup of new R&D projects. But if the ICF succeeds in creating momentum and creative energy in our system engineering community, this challenge will be easily overcome!

Thank you very much for the interview!

Frédéric Loiret

Dr. Frédéric Loiret ist Senior Researcher am KTH (Königliche Hochschule Stockholm), wo er 2008 seinen Doktor in Informatik erhielt. Seine Forschungsinteressen konzentrieren sich auf die Bereitstellung von maßgeschneiderten Werkzeugen und Design-Methoden, um die Effizienz von Software-Entwicklungsprozessen für Embedded Systems Engineering zu erhöhen.
In den vergangenen Jahren arbeitete er für KTH und OFFIS (Oldenburger Forschungsinstitut für Informatik) an mehreren europäischen FuE-Projekten, die sich mit Daten- und Werkzeug-Interoperabilität für solche Systeme beschäftigten.
Vor kurzem hat Frédéric Loiret das Start-up Data Frame mitgegründet, welches Beratungsdienste und Softwarelösungen für die Daten- und Entwicklungswerkzeugintegration zur Verfügung stellt.