Systems research means developing models, model based analyses, simulations, and software for better control, reliability, and productivity of complex systems. Better control also saves energy and the environment. The models may be mathematical descriptions capturing the essential behaviour or conceptual models describing the qualitative characteristics of the system. Experiments performed with computer simulation models help understand the real system operation. We have strong expertise in mathematical modelling and process simulation, simulation technology, automation, optimisation, stochastic systems and risk and reliability analysis. Research on cognitive ergonomics complements the feedback loop between the technical system and the human user.
Process simulators in conventional and nuclear power plants, the pulp and paper industry, and the chemical industry cover both the process and automation. They are used for the training of operators, designing and testing automation systems before commissioning, and process development. System dynamic simulation and optimisation models are used for the planning and optimisation of operations, evaluation of new operation concepts, and training of personnel. Evaluation of safety critical systems is necessary especially for nuclear power processes and safety automation. Research on cognitive ergonomics helps design better control rooms and other control centres, as well as in the evaluation of other new smart technologies. Analysis of complex stochastic systems becomes more and more important due to increased networking and data transfer.
Due to the continuous increase in computing power and efficient networking, the complexity of technical systems and their automation increases both in industry and everyday life. That makes it more and more important to analyse and optimise the systems as a whole in order to manage all important interactions between system components. The Simantics platform, based on semantic models, combines process simulators and other systems for industrial information content management during the plant lifecycle. The new user interface of the APROS® process simulation software runs on the Simantics platform. New model-based methods enabling more and more complete verification of the system behaviour against the requirements are developed for the evaluation of safety automation. A future control room concept utilising new operation concepts with augmented reality and interaction techniques is a long-term research topic.
The system researchers are organised in research groups led by three research professors and experienced senior researchers. The up-to-date software packages and development tools with sufficient computing power enable efficient applications. The simulated and real systems in plants serve as the main laboratories for systems research.