About CSI


Traffic management, emergency rescue, and military operations are domains that naturally exhibit several control systems, operated by different authorities in a distributed way, sharing an environment which is only partially observable, information-intensive and constantly evolving. In such distributed control systems, authorities pursue individual goals and independently collect a vast amount of specific information leading to restrained views on the shared environment. This hampers effective collaboration requiring awareness about simultaneously occurring and mutually affecting situations and control measures for smooth functioning of the overall environment under control. Current insufficient system support for collaborative situation awareness induces huge communication efforts, potential misunderstandings, information overload, and timely pressure on the human system operators. This ultimately endangers the operators’ ability to respond to critical situations with serious real-world consequences by either pro-actively preventing them or achieving their correct and timely resolution.

Following the ultimate vision of effective collaboration in distributed control systems, CSI's main goal is to propose novel semantic methods and technologies leveraging collaborative situation awareness.

Motivating Example

To exemplify the complexity of achieving situation awareness in distributed control systems in a collaborative way – "collaborative situation awareness" – and to point out the specific challenges we intend to tackle in this project, let us consider the sample scenario of urban traffic management. The figure depicts a concrete example situation.

Exemplary Scenario

  1. Road works, e.g., recurring maintenance, block a highway lane.
  2. Operators in the highway control center follow their routine and display warnings of the blocked lane together with speed re-strictions on variable message signs.
  3. These measures naturally tempt many motorists to leave the highway, because they fear to become stuck in traffic.
  4. At the same time, an accident involving a tramway occurs at a junction of the high-way exit ramp with an urban road.
  5. As a consequence, the detour chosen by many highway motorists exhibits a capacity problem.
  6. Finally, a fog area emerges on the highway ahead of the exit ramp.

The ellipses in the figure above depict the restrained views of affected authorities (Linz AG, ASFINAG and Polizei) entailing un-awareness of the simultaneously occurring mutually affecting situations and their likely evolutions, leading to potentially inappropriate decisions about control measures and, in turn, negative impacts on the environment under control.