Researchers envision cyber-physical cloud for disaster management

Researchers envision cyber-physical cloud for disaster management


Japan: Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s IT Laboratory (NIST ITL) and Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) are developing a prototype cloud platform for collecting, archiving, organising, manipulating and sharing very large cyber and physical social data sets. The two organisations signed a memorandum of understanding in 2012 to promote collaborative projects such as the cyber-physical data cloud and network security.

Kyoung-Sook Kim, a researcher with NICT’s Information and Service Platform Laboratory, provided an overview of the project’s progress during a panel discussion at the NIST Cloud and Big Data Workshop, in Gaithersburg. The project addresses the requirement in the US Government Cloud Computing Technology Roadmap for academia, industry and the government to initiate development projects for future clouds.

The Great East Japan earthquake in 2011 prompted Tokyo to explore the pivotal role massive-scale cloud computing could play in supporting the country’s critical infrastructure and in providing government services, Kim said. During the recovery stage, the government realised cloud computing “is not only for cyberspace because it also needs to interact with the physical infrastructure and systems,” she said. As a result, the Japanese government is attempting to bring the cyber and physical worlds together via a cyber-physical data cloud.

Developments in broadband networks, mobile computing and social media are laying the foundation for cyber-physical data clouds. Physical environment sensor data, such as weather observations, can be instantly disseminated over the Internet via widely available broadband networks, according to NIST.

People are also becoming human sensors as they use smart phones to distribute information about their physical environments via text messages, photos or video. And social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook encourage publishing and distributing sensing data in real-time.

Concurrently, NICT is developing the cyber-physical system sensor information system, which will provide access to and analysis of sensor data and produce actionable information via visualisation tools.

After NICT finishes work on many of the interfaces on this system, the organisation will transition it to support the cyber-physical cloud, Kim said. However, a lot of work is still needed in the areas of architecture, security and standards before the project is completed, she added.

A cyber-physical architecture that addresses the convergence of the cloud, big data and social data is a good idea, said Melvin Greer, chief strategist for cloud computing at Lockheed Martin. It shows that cyber constructs and physical elements can be used to access data that can be applied to a variety of areas, such as emergency and disaster response, he noted.

Source: GCN