NIST Releases Draft Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems

The Cyber-Physical Systems Public Working Group (CPS PWG), an open public forum established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, recently released a preliminary discussion draft of its Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS Framework). CPS relate to engineered systems involving the integration of cyber and physical components, such as medical devices, aerospace systems and smart meters. The CPS Framework seeks to encourage the exchange of ideas and integration of research across multiple industry sectors by creating a structure covering the unique issues faced by CPS. By creating such a framework, the CPS PWG hopes to provide a foundation for comprehensive terminology, standards and metrics in the CPS field.

The framework coordinates the research of the five different CPS working subgroups into three major interrelated action areas. First, the framework enumerates the major “domains,” or industry sectors with CPS concerns. The framework also identifies sets of cross-cutting concerns, or “aspects,” such as performance, risk, timing, data interoperability, life cycle, and topology. Linking the aspects and domains, are the system “facets,” which consist of the functional requirements of CPS. This last area not only includes an examination of system and engineering concerns, such as what the CPS is supposed to do and how it should work, but also includes an “assurance” facet focused on verification that the system operates as intended.

The draft CPS Framework is a work in progress. The CPS PWG envisions restructuring the framework as needed based on newly discovered attributes and concepts. For that reason, more recent aspects, such as the assurance facet, are not fully developed in the draft framework. As part of its efforts to refine the draft over the next few months, the CPS PWG subgroups will hold a series of virtual meetings. A schedule of the meeting dates can be found on the CPS PWG website.

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