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Fog Computing for Robotics and Industrial Automation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FORA (Fog Computing for Robotics and Industrial Automation)

Reporting period: 2017-10-01 to 2019-09-30

We are at the beginning of a new industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 which will only become a reality through the convergence of Operational and Information Technologies (OT & IT), and this convergence will be achieved through Fog Computing.

FORA—Fog Computing for Robotics and Industrial Automation is a European Training Network (ETN) that funds and trains 15 PhD students in Fog Computing, during 2017-2021. FORA is an interdisciplinary, international, intersectoral network that will train the next generation of researchers in Fog Computing with applicability to industrial automation and manufacturing.

The FORA research objectives focus on: future industrial automation architectures and applications based on Fog Computing, deterministic virtualization and execution, deterministic wired and wireless communication, resource provisioning and resource management, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), real-time data analytics and security. The result will be an open architecture built on open source and open standards, e.g. Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN), OPC Unified Architecture (UA) and 5G. The research happens at the intersection of several research areas: Cloud Computing and Software Engineering, Industrial Automation and Real-Time Systems, and Machine Learning, Security and Safety.

FORA’s researchers receive integrated training across key areas necessary to fully realize the potential of Fog Computing for Industry 4.0 and will move between academic and industrial environments to promote interdisciplinary and intersectoral learning.
We summarize the work performed during this reporting period as follows:

Website: the FORA website went online in May 2017, and it has been transferred to operation mode after the recruiting phase.

Recruitment: we have completed the recruitment of 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs, all of them PhD students) in an open and fair process. All ESRs have started before the end of Oct. 2018. All ESRs have developed their Personal Career Development Plans (CDPs), which are the basis for their training, research and career development.

Management: the partners have been actively involved in providing input to the FORA deliverables and Training events, and they have been continuously updated with the progress of the project.
Following are the FORA project meetings organized during the reporting periods. The complete agenda and topics discussed during these events are available on the FORA website.

● FORA Kick-off meeting, 2017, Vienna
● FORA project meeting during FORA TS1, 2018, Vienna
● FORA interim check meeting, 2018, Copenhagen
● FORA interim check meeting, 2018, Copenhagen
● FORA Project Meeting, 2019, Copenhagen

Training: following are the training events organized by FORA during the reporting period. The agenda and topics presented during these events are available on the FORA website.

● Training School 1 (TS1), June 2018 -Vienna
● Fora Training Day, Dec. 2018, Copenhagen
● FORA Project Meeting, June 2019, Copenhagen
● Training School 2 (TS2), June 2019, Copenhagen

Initial results and publications: all ESRs have started to publish their preliminary research results in the related workshops, conferences and journals. They have also contributed with the preliminary outcome of their research in the FORA scientific deliverable called Fog Computing: state-of-the-art and research challenges, which is available online on the FORA website.

Deliverables: following is the list of deliverables covered by the reporting period:

● Consortium Agreement, Nov. 30th 2017. Lead by DTU
● Supervisory Board of the network, Nov. 30th 2017. Lead by DTU
● Progress Report, Sep. 30th. 2018. Lead by DTU
● Overall dissemination strategy incl. Dissemination and Comm. plan, Sep. 30th. 2018. Lead by MDH
● NEC - Requirement No. 1, Sep. 30th. 2018. Lead by DTU
● Fog Computing: state-of-the-art and research challenges, Mar. 31st 2019. Lead by DTU
● Fog Computing Platform: requirements and initial designs, Mar. 31st 2019. Lead by TTTech
● Exploitation plan draft, Sep. 30th. 2019. Lead by TTTech
Training: several parts of the training program, including FORA TS1 and FORA TS2 have already been delivered.

During TS1, the ESRs have received multidisciplinary training in future industrial automation architectures and applications, deterministic virtualization, deterministic wired and wireless communication, resource provisioning and resource management. This will support the creation of interdisciplinary research results, integrating contributions from multiple disciplines in a novel way.

In TS2, ESRs have received training on topics with focus on IT/OT convergence including Fog and Edge computing, misconceptions of real-time computing, computation and communication from the perspective of the industrial automation and robotics
Furthermore, the FORA’s non-academic partners and beneficiaries were actively involved in the training network by providing contributions to the network meetings and training events. These involvements have provided opportunities for the ESRs to discuss industrial drivers and challenges and to receive specific training in innovation and entrepreneurship. It also allows ESRs to identify new priorities of future research based on industrial needs and challenges and enhance their career development through training them in the skills that have high demand in the industry.

Secondments: Each ESR has a secondment plan which provides the opportunity to the ESR to have an international collaboration and will expose the ESR to both industrial and academic sectors. This provides all ESRs to receive international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral training. During this reporting period, 10 ESRs has started/completed their secondments: 7 are intersectoral, and all are international secondments.

Scientific progress: so far, all ESRs have obtained the required knowledge in their research areas to carry out their research project. They have started to publish their preliminary research results in the related workshops, conferences and journals, they have also contributed with the preliminary outcome of their research in a deliverable called Fog Computing: state-of-the-art and research challenges.

Dissemination: ESRs have already published more than 30 papers, which are Open Access, in journals and conferences. They have been asked to actively participate in poster presentations in connection to FORA’s events, workshops, or training schools, and post their posters on FORA’s website after the events. To increase the visibility of FORA, we have decided to prepare and disseminate FORA’s newsletters.

Exploitation of results: ESRs have received training on various IPR relevant topics. They have obtained the required knowledge about the benefits related to protecting their work and how to avoid having it exploited by others. They have contributed to the FORA Exploitation plan deliverable, and they have specified the expected exploitable results from their work.

Organizations: we have identified as a key enabler a collaboration around an “Open Source Project on Fog Computing”. The focus will be on extending the standard of Fog-based solutions, supported also by OpenFog and Industrial Internet Consortium. DTU is currently setting up the infrastructure for this Open Source project and the next training event will be used to coordinate, together with the ESRs, the cooperation within this activity.
Participants in the FORA project
FORA kick-off meeting, Oct. 19-29, 2017
FORA Project Meeting, June 2019
FORA Summer School 2019
FORA Training Day, Dec. 11 2018
FORA Training School (TS1), June 2018