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3M Manchester research center to develop vital new science

The University of Manchester is establishing a 3 million research centre dedicated to developing vital new science applicable to manufacturing processes, power station planning and analysis of the human body.

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Computational And Dynamical Analysis (CICADA - pronounced SIKARDA) - which brings together computer scientists, mathematicians and engineers - is being established with a 1.75 million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Researchers are aiming to develop new fundamental knowledge and techniques, which in the long-term could be applied in many different areas, including flight controllers in aircraft and car safety systems.

The work will focus on systems in which there are complex interactions between components that switch discretely and other components that change continuously.

Techniques developed by computer scientists to make sure computer programmes work correctly - particularly important in safety critical situations - cannot be used in these systems due to the element of continuous change.

Modern society is relying increasingly on computer microprocessors in circumstances where failure might result in loss of life.

But academics say there is still a major gap between designs that humans are prepared to trust with their lives and those based on the most technically advanced solutions.

Professor David Broomhead from The School of Mathematics said: "In situations of life and death, we have little confidence in technically advanced digital systems due to their complexity and the lack of appropriate testing tools.

"Whenever an embedded computer system in something like an Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system in a car has to interact with the real world, we have what is known as a hybrid system."

Dr Jonathan Shapiro from The School of Computer Science said: "With a digital system it is, in the
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Contact: Alex Waddington
alex.waddington@manchester.ac.uk
44-016-120-63983
University of Manchester
14-May-2007


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