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The CHESS Center operated from 2002 through 2017. See Industrial Cyberphysical Systems (iCyPhy) for more recent research. The CHESS website is no longer actively being maintanied.

See also the CHESS Conferences Page.

2010-2011 Accomplishments

2009-2010 Accomplishments

2008-2009 Accomplishments

2007-2008 Accomplishments

2006-2007 Accomplishments

2005-2006 Accomplishments

Jonathan Sprinkle, Tracey Richards. Chess 2006 Annual Report, Technical report, Chess, May, 2006.

2003-2004 Accomplishments

Annual Reports

  • 2004 CHESS ITR Annual Report
  • 2003 CHESS ITR Annual Report
  • Details

  • Softwalls January 2004
  • Summer Undergraduate Program in Engineering Research at Berkeley - Information Technology (SUPERB IT) Summer 2003
  • Vanderbilt Summer Internship Program in Hybrid and Embedded Software Research (SIPHER) Summer 2003
  • Tools developed and their Applications to the Automotive and Aereospace Systems January 2004
  • BEAR and Embedded Software for UAVs January 2004
  • Embedded Software for Operations of Multiple Heterogenous Groups (Swarms) of UAVs; Technology Trends in UAVs January 2004
  • The Legacy of Success in UAV research on the BEAR Platform January 2004
  • Recent Experiments and Demos January 2004
  • ESCHER, Embedded Software and Systems Technology January 2004
  • Softwalls

    Prof. Lee presenting graphic of no-fly zone

    At UC Berkeley's Center for Hybrid and Embedded Software Systems (Chess), one of the projects is developing avionics software to prevent repeats of the attacks of September 11, 2001. The approach, dubbed "Soft Walls," uses an on-board database with a three dimensional model of navigable airspace and "no-fly zones." The no-fly zones include terrain and regions of airspace around cities, nuclear power plants, and other critical infrastructure. On-board localization technology (GPS, inertial navigation, and several other backup systems) is used determine the location of the aircraft at all times and compare this location against the database. As the aircraft approaches a no-fly zone, pilot commands are modified so that the aircraft does not enter a no-fly zone. The principle is to give the pilot as much authority over the aircraft as possible, subject to the constraint that the aircraft not enter the no-fly zone.

    On Dec. 30, 2003, "ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" broadcast on national television a 2 minute segment on Soft Walls. In addition to interviewing Prof. Edward Lee of Berkeley, they showed a prototype of the system developed by Honeywell as a modification of their advanced ground avoidance system. The Honeywell prototype, unlike the Berkeley proposal, takes control completely away from the pilot when the aircraft gets close enough to a no-fly zone. The Honeywell prototype is well-suited for retrofitting older aircraft, while the Berkeley technique is well-suited for use in fly-by-wire aircraft, which includes nearly all commercial aircraft developed since the mid 1980's.

    Other media coverage that has been reported includes television segments in Spain and Germany, newspaper coverage in various places, including Hong Kong, Germany, and various places in the U.S., and numerous radio interviews in England, Canada, and the U.S. For further information, see http://softwalls.eecs.berkeley.edu.

    Summer Undergraduate Program in Engineering Research at Berkeley - Information Technology (SUPERB IT)

    SUPERB-IT participants spent eight weeks at UC Berkeley over the summer working on projects in information technology with EECS faculty mentors and graduates students. The resulting papers, posters and projects can be viewed at the following url:


    Vanderbilt Summer Internship Program in Hybrid and Embedded Software Research (SIPHER) Program

    The SIPHER program (Summer Internship Program in Hybrid and Embedded Software Research) is a program similar to SUPERB-IT, but located at Vanderbilt. During summer 2003 SIPHER organized a summer internship projects for six participants from underrepresented groups. Four additional students were supported from other funds such as REUs. The students were organized into three small project teams who solved different embedded software development problems. The Vanderbilt supported students and their project titles were:

    "Visual Tracking of Flying Objects": Bina P. Shah, Edwin Vargas, and Trione Vincent (REU),

    "Search and Rescue: LEGO Mindstorm Robot Control": Rachael A. Dennison, David Garcia, and Danial Balasubramanian (REU),

    "Robotic Maze solver: TAB Robot Control": Michael J. Rivera Jackson, Nickolia Coombs (REU),

    "Control of Adaptive Structures": Shantel Higgins (with Efosa Omojo).

    The students used advanced software tools created at ISIS, and were supervised by professors and senior graduate students. During the first few weeks they were subjected to rigorous training in order to quickly learn how to use ISIS tools. Similar to UCB, three graduate student mentors assisted in providing guidance for the undergraduates on their projects. The project results were presented at two mini-conferences which included live demonstrations of the working prototypes.

    For more information about SIPHER, please see the following url:


    Tools developed and their Applications to the Automotive and Aerospace Systems

    There has been considerable activity in the area of tool building and application to a variety of embedded design problems. The main focus has been on hybrid systems for transportation system control and sensor networks, an area that has been a traditional strength of the EECS Department at UCB.

    Among the domain-specific software tools that the project has contributed are two that are built on a shared framework called Ptolemy II. The first of these, called HyVisual, provides visually edited models of hybrid systems and a sophisticated simulator that combines numerical solvers for ordinary differential equations with systematic handling of discrete events. The second of these, called VisualSense, provides modeling of wireless sensor networks, including modeling of sensor nodes, data fusion techniques, channel models, and models of physical sensor data. Both tools leverage the considerable infrastructure in Ptolemy II for visualization and signal processing. HyVisual has been used in courses on hybrid systems, and VisualSense is expected to be used in courses on sensor network technologies.

    Metropolis is a large design methodology and software project aimed at supporting system level design from conception to implementation. The design methodology supported by Metropolis is called Platform-based Design. The application domains of Metropolis have been so far automotive, UAV, wireless network and multi-media. In the automotive domain, we have developed a design flow for fault tolerant architectures. The project initiated with BMW support is now of great interest to General Motors. For the UAV application, we have developed a helicopter control system obtained with a combination of platform-based design and Giotto, a collaborative project involving Professors Henzinger, Sangiovanni-Vincentelli and Sastry. For wireless networks being designed at BWRC in collaboration with Professor Rabaey, we have developed a technique for the capture of network specifications in Petri net format and for the automatic synthesis of appropriate communication protocols that minimize energy consumption. We have also developed an approach for architecture optimization that has been tested on a Blue Tooth network designed by Nokia. Finally for multi-media, we have applied Metropolis to the design of a Picture in Picture application for high-definition TV given us by Philips. Metropolis is also being considered by Intel for the design of two of their flagship products.

    BEAR and and Embedded Software for UAVs

    The PIs of the CHESS Center have taken on national and international leadership roles in organizing the scientific research community in hybrid and embedded software systems. In 2003, ACM formed a new special interest group on embedded systems (called SIGBED), with Sztipanovits as chair, and several of the PIs on the governing board. The PIs have been instrumental in starting several technical conferences in this emerging area: EMSOFT, now the new annual ACM SIGBED Conference on Embedded Software; IPSN, the new annual Workshop on Information Processing in Sensor Networks; and HSCC, the International Workshop on Hybrid Systems, which was started in 1998 at Berkeley and is now a thriving annual event with more than 120 submissions in 2004. The PIs also lead the US effort in the Columbus project, a joint project on hybrid systems research with the European Union, and CHESS is an international partner in the European ARTIST project on advanced real-time systems.

    Embedded Software for Operations of Multiple Heterogeneous Groups (Swarms) of UAVs; Technology Trends in UAVs

    UAVs are being increasingly deployed in national and homeland security applications as well as in civilian applications like traffic monitoring, forest fire prevention and other search and rescue operations. In an integrated project called Berkeley Aerobotics (BEAR), we have built up a test bed of a large number of rotorcraft and fixed wing UAVs for use in a variety of different applications and for research at Berkeley and Vanderbilt on embedded and networked embedded systems. We have followed technology trends in building up our repository of UAVs which we use in our testbeds to be surrogates of the following categories:

    1. Strategic UAVs (SUAVs) with long term loiter and extensive sensor suites, such as the Global Hawk.
    2. Tactical UAVs (TUAVs) with some sensor suites and strike capability both air to ground and air to air to air such as the Predator
    3. Organic Air Vehicles (OAVs), which are backpack sized for deployment in support of individuals or the Rotorcraft UAV (RUAV).
    4. Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), which are centimeter sized such as the Berkeley Micro-Mechanical Flying Insect, which play the role of flying sensor webs (the flying analog of sensor webs of smart dust).
    For more information, please see: http://robotics.eecs.berkeley.edu/bear

    The Legacy of Success in UAV research on the BEAR Platform

    We have completed the following tasks and demonstrations to date:
    1. Architecture for multi-level rotorcraft UAVs doing complex aggressive maneuvers ( Sastry, Sangiovanni Vincentelli, Henzinger, and Lee), tradeoffs between time architectures and untimed architectures: platform based design.
    2. Pursuit Evasion Games (recent experiments also use sensor fields of smart dust like sensors dropped from the air) (Sastry, Culler).
    3. Landing autonomously using vision on pitching decks (Sastry)
    4. Multi-target tracking (Sztipanovits and Sastry)
    5. Formation flying and formation change (Sastry, Hedrick)

    Experiments and Demos

    We have now built up surrogate UAV rotorcraft for the SUAV: namely the Yamaha R-Max, the TUAV, namely the Yamaha R-50s and OAVs the Bergen rotorcraft, dual rotor electric UAVs, and other indoor MAVs. We will now engage in a new set of demos using these surrogates for the SUAVs, TUAVs and OAVs for developing con-ops for a number of complex missions in urban and other complex terrain. In particular we simultaneously fly groups of heterogeneous classes of UAVs to locate, localize and prosecute time critical targets which are conducting evasive maneuvers in complex terrain. The demonstrations in 2003 to date and continuing into the next years follow the following sequence of experiments:

    1. UAV Chicken: we will demonstrate conflict detection and resolution for UAVs which have been tasked at the high level to fly conflicted trajectories. 1st year of the ITR project.
    2. High Speed Chases through Complex Unknown Terrain.
    3. Dynamic formation flight to include refueling, enroute navigation, evasion of red force strategies and pop up threats autonomously: 2nd year of the project.
    4. Multi-Layered Operations of UAVs: SUAVs will fly at high altitudes providing surveillance and negotiating the deployment of TUAVs which in turn will task several OAVs to prosecute multiple time critical targets. In 2004, we will demonstrate the 2 layer concept of operations.

    Embedded Software and Systems Technology

    Embedded Software and Systems technology is of strategic importance for a wide range of industrial sectors such as defense, aerospace, automotive, medical devices and manufacturing automation. Embedded systems provide an increasingly dominant portion of the added value and are the primary source of competitive advantage. In order to facilitate the rapid and effective transitioning of emerging embedded systems and software technology to industry and to facilitate the access of high quality research software and tools for the research community, we have initiated the establishment of an industry/government consortium called the Embedded Systems Consortium for Hybrid and Embedded Research (ESCHER).

    ESCHER is currently incubated at Vanderbilt University as a unit of ISIS ISIS (http://escher.isis.vanderbilt.edu/) with the intention of spinning off an open, nonprofit corporation (501(c)(3)) in the near future. ESCHER develops and integrates a national infrastructure required for promoting the creation, transition, integration and maturation of open tools and technologies that enable predictable and controllable development of trustworthy embedded systems. The key components of this technical infrastructure are the following:

    1. ESCHER web site at http://www.escherinstitute.org/, which provides structured access to the ESCHER repository.
    2. Quality controlled ESCHER Repository, which includes services for content management and navigation.
    3. Quality monitoring and reporting tools.

    The incubation year of ESCHER is co-funded by NSF ($300K), DARPA ($300K), Boeing ($250K), GM ($250K) and Raytheon ($250K).

    The Chess interaction with Escher is managed through the Chess escher Workgroup.


    Other Chess publications can be found on the Chess Publications Page

    See also the "Charter for the Center for Hybrid Embedded Software Systems."

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