Real-time alterations to the red-and-green cycle can cut congestion time by up to 50% and make a city drive much more agreeable, says Prof Christos Cassandras, a smart cities expert from Boston University, who helped develop the system.
“We have all been in the situation where we keep getting stuck behind red light after red light, so imagine if we can control the traffic lights or even the car to alert drivers that if they accelerate a little bit they will make that green light,” he says.
Abstract: Smart Cities are an example of Cyber-Physical Systems whose goals include improvements in transportation, energy distribution, emergency response, and infrastructure maintenance, to name a few. One of the key elements of a Smart City is the ability to monitor and dynamically allocate its resources. The availability of large amounts of data, ubiquitous wireless connectivity, and the critical need for scalability open the door for new control and optimization methods which are both data-driven and event-driven. The talk will present such an optimization framework and its properties. It will then describe several applications that arise in Smart Cities, some of which have been tested in the City of Boston: a “Smart Parking” system which dynamically assigns and reserves an optimal parking space for a user (driver); the “Street Bump” system which uses standard smartphone capabilities to collect roadway obstacle data and identify and classify them for efficient maintenance and repair; adaptive traffic light control; optimal control of connected autonomous vehicles. Lastly, to address the “social’’ dimension, the talk will describe how a large traffic data set from the Massachusetts road network was analyzed to estimate the Price of Anarchy in comparing “selfish” user-centric behavior to “social” system-centric optimal traffic routing solutions.
Under a new dual degree program, graduates from Beijing’s Tsinghua University, one of China’s top universities, will be able to get a master’s degree in systems engineering at the College of Engineering.
Under the agreement signed by President Robert A. Brown and Tsinghua President Qiu Yong on May 6, students who have earned a bachelor of engineering degree at Tsinghua can earn a master of science in systems engineering here. The so-called “4+x program” requires Tsinghua graduates to do two semesters of course work at BU, followed by a practicum that could be completed at Tsinghua.
Five posters of our lab were presented during the Graduate Research Symposium at BU. Topics cover from health care, sensor networks, multi-agent coverage control, traffic control, to persistent monitoring with applications in smart cities.
As computers become ever-faster and communication bandwidth ever-cheaper, computing and communication capabilities will be embedded in all types of objects and structures in the physical environment. Applications with enormous societal impact and economic benefit will be created by harnessing these capabilities in time and across space. Such systems that bridge the cyber-world of computing and communications with the physical world are called cyber-physical systems.
Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are physical and engineered systems whose operations are monitored, coordinated, controlled and integrated by a computing and communication core. Cyber-physical systems will transform how we interact with the physical world just like the Internet transformed how we interact with one another.
Boston University Professor and Head of the Division of Systems Engineering Christos Cassandras was invited by the National Science Foundation to organize and chair a Workshop on Smart Cities, a subject of great national interest and focal point of many recent federal and local government activities.
CHRISTOS G. CASSANDRAS
Distinguished Professor of Engineering
Head, Division of Systems Engineering
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
15 St. Mary’s St., Boston University
Brookline, MA 02446
Tel. (617) 353-7154 Fax: (617) 353-4830
425 Photonics Building, 8 St. Mary’s St.