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Opportunities for improving embedded control systems

New online software has made it possible to verify the stability of embedded control systems, promising to make machinery, equipment and devices more dependable than ever.

Digital Economy

Embedded control systems – represented generally by microprocessors as components in larger equipment or devices – are crucial for powering anything from mobile phones to automobiles. As user requirements become more complex in today’s high-tech world and the internet of things brings more control to all kinds of devices, building advanced confidence embedded control systems has become a formidable challenge. The EU-funded VERISTAB (Formal Verification of Stability of Embedded Control Systems) project worked on enhancing stability, the most important property of every control system design. More specifically, the project team developed automated techniques to validate the stability of embedded control systems. It articulated a new approach to verify stability based on model-checking, which represents a successful verification paradigm from the formal methods field. The technique surpasses others in that it is algorithmic rather than deductive, enabling scalable, automated stability verification that overcomes the limitations of deductive techniques. To achieve its aims the project outlined quantitative predicate abstractions which combine finite state abstraction with quantitative information to further stability. It also developed a software tool named Averist that is available online through the project website for engineers and researchers working on stability. In technical terms, the Averist software offers an automatic framework for stability proofs. It returns counterexamples in abstraction refinement and enhances parallelisable computations through incremental construction, considerably minimising the possibility of numerical errors as well. As a software tool for stability analysis of hybrid systems and a bona fide algorithmic verifier of stability, Averist has already contributed to taking embedded control systems to new heights.


Embedded control systems, VERISTAB, stability verification, Averist

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5 June 2018