CRC 614 "Self-optimizing concepts and structures in mechanical engineering"

The Collaborative Research Centre 614 „Self-optimizing concepts and structures in mechanical engineering” (CRC 614) is now nine years old and in the second year of the third period. It is based on an outstanding capability of the University of Paderborn: the symbiosis of computer sciences, engineering disciplines and mathematics. This capability results in a distinct competence in mechatronics, which combined with optimization methods is the foundation of CRC 614.

CRC 614 is focused on methods. It delivers methods for the design of tomorrow’s mechanical engineering products. These products have inherent partial intelligence. The definition of these methods runs along with the development of sophisticated demonstrators, which are representative for mechanical engineering products and related areas like the automotive industry.

Tomorrow’s electro-mechanical systems are in the focus of CRC 614. They will be configurations of system elements with inherent partial intelligence. The behavior of the overall system is characterized by the communication and cooperation between these intelligent system elements. From the point of view of information technology, we consider these distributed systems to be cooperative agents. These abilities open fascinating perspective regarding the design of the mechanical systems. The term self-optimization characterizes this perspective:

“Self-optimization describes the ability of a technical system to endogenously adapt its objective regarding changing influences and thus an autonomous adaption of the system’s behavior in accordance with the objective. The behavior adaption may be implemented by changing the parameters or the structure of the system. Thus self-optimization goes considerably beyond the familiar rule-based and adaptive control strategies; Self-optimization facilitates systems with inherent “intelligence” that are able to take action and react autonomously and flexibly to changing operating conditions.”

The vision of CRC 614 is a new school for design of intelligent mechatronic systems. This new school is formed by a number of instruments like process models, design methods, tool and best practices. The definition of these instruments runs along with the development of sophisticated demonstrators, which are representative for mechanical engineering products and related areas like the automotive industry and medical engineering. The CRC 614 pursuits four main objectives which are reflected by the project areas:

  • Project Area A: Foundations and Potentials of Self-Optimization – scientific exploration and an adequate presentation for engineering issues of the paradigm of Self-optimization
  • Project Area B: Design Methods and –Tools: Definition of the methodology and the instruments, which are required to developed innovative systems which rely on the paradigm of self-optimization
  • Project Area C: Implementation Methods – Realization of self-optimization on the level of hardware, system software and control software
  • Project Area D: Self-optimizing Products and Systems – Design and prototypical realization of new components and systems to evaluate the developed methods and provide stimulate product innovations

The software engineering group is involved in the subprojects B1 and B2 of the CRC 614. Subproject B1 develops UML-based design techniques for self-optimizing mechatronic multi-agent systems. Subproject B2 integrates the gained knowledge of all subprojects in the CRC to a design instrument for self-optimizing systems, enabling third persons to successfully develop self-optimizing systems.