Science of Sensor Systems Software (S4)

Sensors are everywhere., increasingly driving decision-making process for scientific and social policy issues that directly affect everyone. It is vital that the data we measure, and the information we extract from it, are timely, reliable, trustworthy, and robust.

These are difficult and little-understood challenges. Sensors are noisy, they decalibrate or may be misplaced, moved, compromised, and generally degraded over time, both individually and collectively as a network. Uncertainty pervades the physical and digital environments in which these systems operate. There are increasing requirements to add more autonomy and intelligence, yet we understand very little about programming in the face of pervasive uncertainty that cannot be engineered away. How can we be assured that a sensor system does what we intend, in a range of dynamic environments? How can we make such a system “smarter”? How can we connect the stochastic nature of environments, the continuous nature of physical systems, and discrete nature of software? Currently we cannot answer these questions because we lack a well-founded science of sensor systems software.

S4 is a five-year EPSRC-funded Programme Grant that is developing a unifying science, across the breadth of mathematics, computer science and engineering, that will let developers engineer for the uncertainty and ensure that their systems and the information they provide is resilient, responsive, reliable, statistically sound and robust. S4 brings together researchers from the University of Glasgow, the University of Liverpool, the University of St Andrews, and Imperial College London.

You can find out more about the science and events happening in S4 at the programme’s web site.