DisCoRail 2019 - International Workshop on Distributed Computing in Future Railway Systems

DisCoRail 2019 is a satellite workshop of DisCoTec 2019, held on June 17, 2019 in Lyngby, Denmark.

Scope

DisCoTec gathers several conferences and workshops that cover a broad spectrum of distributed computing subjects, ranging from theoretical foundations and formal description techniques to systems research issues. The aim of the DisCoRail’19 workshop is to discuss (1) how distributed computing has changed, and will even more change, the particular domain of railway signaling and train control systems, and (2) how formal techniques can help to address problems arising from this change.

The growingly wide deployment of ERTMS-ETCS systems on high speed lines as well as on freight corridors is already a witness to the possible achievements of high safety standards by means of distributed control algorithms that span over geographical areas and are able to safely control large physical systems. In ERTMS-ETCS the guarantee of global properties (such as safety) emerges from the conformance of the subsystems to well-established communication protocols and standards.

Anyway, most of the crucial decisions needed to guarantee safety are still taken at centralized places (such as the Radio Block Centre - RBC), and the topology of such systems can be considered as a two layers network, the lower layer being just a connection of mobile systems with a centralized unit (the RBC), while the higher layer connects through a fixed network the RBCs with each other and the traffic management systems.

Several foreseen advances envisage a more dynamic network connection among mobile components, in which decisions are actually taken in a distributed way, with some form of distributed consensus algorithms. An example is the virtual coupling concept, in which the strict cross control between coupled trains has to be negotiated locally, while the global behavior of the set of coupled trains has to follow the rules dictated by the ETCS control system. Another example is given by the proposals of distributed interlocking systems, where the route reservation is a global knowledge to be negotiated between the nodes.

The increasing importance of communication makes sources of uncertainty to be increasingly present in a railway control system: safety in presence of distribution, mobility, uncertainty is currently one of the research challenges in the domain. Cybersecurity is also another main issue induced by communication-based control schemes.

The workshop intends to discuss these topics with experts from industry and academia that have addressed these aspects in research and development projects. The workshop will feature 20’-30’ minutes presentations of this kind (see preliminary program below), as well as a final discussion.

Call for contributions

We invite everyone else interested in these topics to actively participate to the discussion with a short presentation (5 minutes) describing own research activity. Please send the organizers a title and an abstract by the 1st of May to the organizers. The proposals will be selected basing on relevance and time availability.

Important dates

Publications

We are currently studying the possibility to publish post-proceedings of the workshop as a special issue of a scientific journal or in a volume of Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science.

Contact information of the organizers

Alessandro Fantechi

Dip. di Ingegneria dell’Informazione
Università di Firenze
Via S. Marta 3
I-50139 Firenze - Italy
alessandro.fantechi@unifi.it

Anne Haxthausen
DTU Compute
Asmussens Alle, bygning 322
Technical University of Denmark
DK-2800 Lyngby - Denmark
aeha@dtu.dk

Preliminary program:

The workshop will continue over a dinner place, for those who are willing to taste some Danish cuisine and are able to stay overnight after the workshop (see registration for details)