The Interoperability Challenge: Building a Model-Driven Digital Thread Platform for CPS
Lecture Notes in Computer Science
AbstractWith the heterogeneity of the industry 4.0 world, and more generally of the Cyberphysical Systems realm, the quest towards a platform approach to solve the interoperability problem is front and centre to any system and system-of-systems project. Traditional approaches cover individual aspects, like data exchange formats and published interfaces. They may adhere to some standard, however they hardly cover the production of the integration layer, which is implemented as bespoke glue code
... hat is hard to produce and even harder to maintain. Therefore, the traditional integration approach often leads to poor code quality, further increasing the time and cost and reducing the agility, and a high reliance on the individual development skills. We are instead tackling the interoperability challenge by building a model driven/low-code Digital Thread platform that 1) systematizes the integration methodology, 2) provides methods and techniques for the individual integrations based on a layered Domain Specific Languages (DSL) approach, 3) through the DSLs it covers the integration space domain by domain, technology by technology, and is thus highly generalizable and reusable, 4) showcases a first collection of examples from the domains of robotics, IoT, data analytics, AI/ML and web applications, 5) brings cohesiveness to the aforementioned heterogeneous platform, and 6) is easier to understand and maintain, even by not specialized programmers. We showcase the power, versatility and the potential of the Digital Thread platform on four interoperability case studies: the generic extension to REST services, to robotics through the UR family of robots, to the integration of various external databases (for data integration) and to the provision of data analytics capabilities in R.