Smart Cities and People
Cities need to address the challenge of consuming less materials and energy, and of creating less waste, applying the principles of Lean and Cleaner Thinking as a key role for competitiveness, growth and quality of life. To address energy sustainability, economic, technical, social and environmental challenges of the problem must be considered. The improvement of global efficiency, the increase of renewable energy production integration, the improvement of electrical power quality, the creation of Smart Grids, and the optimization of transportation systems, are key issues to overcome this challenge.
Embedded and cyber-physical systems are important actors to make smarter our homes, offices, public spaces, means of transportation, etc, taking into account cyber security, privacy and trust, and energy efficiency. Therefore, safety, security, and multicore-convergence are needed to promote a unified design approach for today’s embedded systems.
In this context, safety, reliability and maintenance have a strategic importance to cities administration since they have a key role in operational efficiency, service quality, and financial sustainability.
Mobility has become an important value of modern societies; however it also contributes for excessive energy consumption, air pollution and the congestion of cities. Therefore, the way to sustainability passes through optimizing accessibility factors of mobility, multi-modality (and inter-modality), and planning of different and more efficient modes of transport. They need to be interconnected in spatial- temporal dimensions, taking into account their differences and categories, and exploring the integration of available transportation information services with digital information about the urban space and its dynamics to provide innovative ubiquitous services for mobility and transports. Organizing mobility for sustainability also means promoting electric mobility.
The analysis of reliability, availability, maintainability and safety (RAMS) of Complex technological systems used in cities is important in equipment selection, and all stages of equipment life cycle. Also, the design and use of performance indicators is crucial to assess the efficiency of technological and management systems for controlling and improving their performance. Well-informed and participative citizens will promote increasing awareness and discussion on fundamental problems that affect a city, such as urban resource management, planning and usage. All these goals can be achieved on the basis of empowering communities with the means to collect, analyse and disseminate data of relevance to them, their neighbourhoods, and the environment, through the use of modern technology for monitoring, collaborative and participatory urban sensing, data collecting, gathering, analysis and optimization. Promoting this view raises a number of scientific and technological challenges for improving data collection, processing, integration and dissemination, making data more immediate, simple and effective. This way, it contributes for a wisely use of natural, human and financial resources, turning them into quality of life for citizens, since local governance strategies of various sectors and departments can be taken based in integrated management supported by optimization models and statistical analysis.
Such strategy results in huge amounts of spatio-temporal data collection. Useful information extraction needs to be enhanced with frameworks, methodologies or tools capable of dealing with big data sets. The characteristics of spatio-temporal data, complex by nature, require specific data models, data bases, indexing structures and processing tools, able to deal with the position of the objects and their spatial and temporal semantic.
Analysis of such multi-dimensional big data sets by human experts in order to infer higher level knowledge and overall trends, requires the development of data reduction and visualization techniques well-grounded on data compression, scientific visualization and visual analytics theory and practices. The sheer volume of the data set due to the ubiquity of sensors, such as wearable, portable devices and video cameras, require further image data analysis techniques. Additionally, effective communication and interaction among citizens, institutions and local government within this highly non-linear system demands (i) resorting to content generation and delivery techniques, such as 3D imaging technology and interactive computer generated imagery, as researched by the computer graphics community, and (ii) adopting the well-established geo-referenced data standards proposed by OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium). The huge volume of data and associated processing, together with the overwhelming number of involved users, require the efficient use of heterogeneous and highly parallel, scalable and cost-effective computing systems, built with integrated many-core units, paying special attention to the impact on the environment, as prescribed by green computing practices.
Addressing the sustainability of urban areas requires a multidisciplinary approach, including the design for their specific use and the associated human factor aspects, such as, for example, the way people interact with city information systems, such as outdoors and maps. Urban areas are also geographical domains with some pollution problems to be mitigated and managed, such as noise emission, which seems to be each time more relevant due to the increasing noisy activities there developed. Overall, sustainable cities projects need to effectively manage resources, costs, quality, scope, while keeping the risks controlled. As such, project and portfolio management techniques will assist on dealing with different interests and stakeholders.
Europe is living in a context of unprecedented transformations and growing global interdependencies. Society should be innovative in order to adapt to the new transformations. Challenges of innovative societies include: self-development and self-knowledge/learning; Innovation in people supporting activities, including health care, schooling and services; Development of complex adaptive systems, capable of learning from data, in order to enhance individual or group-based decisions; Collaborative approaches; and Innovation diffusion. Security and safety are fundamental conditions to promote development. Challenges include: fight crime and terrorism; provide border security; provide cyber security; respond to and manage crises and disasters. ALGORITMI centre reveals strong R&D competencies in domains associated with HSP, namely:
A) Health care information systems interoperability, security and efficiency
The overall purpose of systems developed in this field is to extract and present clinically relevant information. Medical information appears in many different forms, i.e., parameters, value measurements, time courses, images, and volume sequences. Methods to attain new types of information are continuously being developed and the detail and quality of recorded data is increasing rapidly. In addition it is necessary to be able to integrate and analyse information from a large number of patients and time instances. Efficient solutions to this problem will be crucial components in future health care arena. To develop principles and methods for such solutions is the goal of the research in the next years, in particular on the development of systems for medical decision support and medical image analysis.
Another important issues addressed in this area are the safety and security through the identification and assessment of the vulnerability of critical infrastructures and global security challenges through the development of advanced tools for information mining and analysis.
B) Ambient intelligence for well being and e-health applications, supported by RFID technology and Wireless Sensor Networks
The development of intelligent systems puts the focus on the ability to be useful to the environment where they fit. Thus, intelligent systems are a way of promoting innovation and providing solutions, to society and institutions, in real domains. Currently, it covers fields like Ambient Intelligence, in which well-being and sustainability are areas that stand out. Behavioural analysis made by non-invasive techniques for detection and tracking of stress, or monitoring of fatigue on performant critical functions, are of utmost importance for the well-being and productivity. Up efforts to sustainability, gets the commitment of computer science, in general, and intelligent systems and sensorization, in particular, in order to play a key role in the technological era that is already the basis for life in society.
C) Robotic systems and devices for health care and medicine
Several areas are explored in this domain as socially intelligent robots, autonomous robots capable of interacting actively with humans, rather than those used as mere tools. Assistive Technologies area another area of interest related to pro-active robotic systems able to assist dependent persons at home. Complementary research is made in the robotic area including surgical robotics (e.g. implantation of electrodes for deep brain stimulation and stereo-EEG, rehabilitation robotics (e.g. intelligent walkers for the elderly and blind people), robots on sports (golf balls picking up), robotics training. With recent developments in technology, new medical devices and new ways of monitoring physiological information emerge. Examples are physiological data monitoring devices (e.g. design and develop real-world physiological systems to be local and remotely operated).
D) Human factors, efficient cost control and management in health care
There are several aspects of human engineering related to health aspects of society, mainly from the perspective of work and public health; on the other hand, there are relevant aspects of human factors within the designing of solutions to deal with
the expected demographical changes. Some of these aspects will be mainly centred on the human-centred approach for the proposals aiming at promoting an active ageing, helping to improve assisted living and allow elderly and disabled people to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, including at work settings.
Economic engineering, from cost appraisal for any project or product to be developed, going through cost-benefit analysis and risk and uncertainty treatment, till the business plan for new companies to be set-up in the health and wellbeing market niche, has a relevant contribution to this stream. Stochastic Decision Models are important tools in assisting decision making in any type of project or enterprise, where decisions need to be taken in uncertain scenarios and considering conflicting objectives.
E) Intelligent decision support and data systems in health care and medicine
Management, planning and decision are based increasingly on knowledge. The collections of data that are available today (e.g. from monitoring devices) allow a more efficient support for these activities. However, their size, nature and complexity require intelligent data structures in order to create storage, processing and analytical discovery of more effective ways knowledge as to its diffusion technologies. Data mining and data warehousing fields can contribute significantly for empowering and automate the process of decision-making. Important contributions can be made in critical areas as intensive medicine (e.g. predicting organ failure/dysfunction and outcome of patients, solutions for pain monitoring and control in post-surgery patients). Real time and online intelligent decision support systems are of most importance to supply professionals and patients with important information in useful time.