Hybrid Automata for Formal Modeling and Verification of Cyber-Physical Systems.

S. N. Krishna and Ashutosh Trivedi

The presence of a tight integration between the discrete control (the "cyber") and the analog environment (the "physical")-via sensors and actuators over wired or wireless communication networks-is the defining feature of cyber-physical systems. Hence, the functional correctness of a cyber-physical system is crucially dependent not only on the dynamics of the analog physical environment, but also on the decisions taken by the discrete control that alter the dynamics of the environment. The framework of Hybrid automata--introduced by Alur, Courcoubetis, Henzinger, and Ho--provides a formal modeling and specification environment to analyze the interaction between the discrete and the continuous parts of cyber-physical systems. Hybrid automata can be considered as generalizations of finite state automata augmented with a finite set of real-valued variables whose dynamics in each state is governed by a system of ordinary differential equations. Moreover, the discrete transitions of hybrid automata are guarded by constraints over the values of these real-valued variables, and enable discontinuous jumps in the evolution of these variables. Considering the richness of the dynamics in a hybrid automaton, it is perhaps not surprising that the fundamental verification questions, like reachability and schedulability, for the general model are undecidable. In this article we present a review of hybrid automata as modeling and verification framework for cyber-physical systems, and survey some of the key results related to practical verification questions related to hybrid automata.

Journal of the Indian Institute of Science, VOL 93:3, pages 419-440, Jul.-Sep. 2013.
PDF © 2013 IISc.