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Simplicity is complex : foundations of cyber-physical system design
Kopetz H., Springer International Publishing, New York, NY, 2019. 148 pp. Type: Book (978-3-030204-10-5)
Date Reviewed: Jan 23 2020

First of all, I must say that this is a very good book. However, it did not captivate me, as I expected something different based on the subtitle. The book exposes exactly what the subtitle indicates: foundations. When I proposed a review of this book, I expected a complete methodology, presented step-by-step, to reduce the complexity of any cyber-physical system (CPS). This is not what I found.

The book is structured in ten chapters plus one annex. It is clearly divided into two parts. Chapters 1 through 5 provide the background and general foundations of the design of any system. These foundations are not strictly focused on CPS; they pertain to any industrial system. In the second part (chapters 7 through 10), all the foundations described in the first part of the book are applied specifically to a CPS. Chapter 6 serves as a transition, contextualizing all the general facts described in chapters 1 through 5 to the CPS exposed in chapters 7 through 10.

There are a lot of good points to remark on in this book. For one, it is full of examples to help readers understand some really complex concepts and their practical application. Another strength is the author’s exhaustive revision of almost all the facts related to system design, starting from the goals and objectives of the systems up to all the involved elements. His presentation carefully and exhaustively guides the reader.

However, as previously mentioned, it is not the book I expected. Probably I was looking for some “magic recipe” to apply to optimize a complex CPS into a simpler one. The author does not provide that. He remarks on some points to be taken into account, highlights some considerations that are often ignored, and provides good hints in the development of good designs.

This book is not intended for newcomers to CPS design. Many of the complex ideas described are difficult to understand without prior knowledge of the field. On the other hand, for experienced engineers, the presented ideas are too general to be applied to very specific designs. Therefore, the ideal reader is an engineer who is familiar with CPS design but is not an expert in the field.

Reviewer:  José Manuel Palomares Review #: CR146849 (2006-0118)
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