£4m grant for cutting-edge sensor systems research

The University of Liverpool is one of four UK universities that have started work on a research programme which aims to deliver smarter, more reliable sensor based systems.

These are the underlying systems that will determine the future success of ‘smart cities’, the ‘internet of things’, ‘big data’ and ‘self-driving’ vehicles.

The Science of Sensor Systems Software (S4) project brings together researchers from the Universities of Liverpool, Glasgow, St Andrews and Imperial College London with expertise across Computing, Engineering, and Mathematics, together with a range of private and public sector partners.

Sensor system software

S4 aims to develop new principles and techniques for sensor system software that will allow scientists and policymakers to ask deeper questions and be confident in obtaining reliable answers from the ever-expanding networks of sensors.

The project’s outcomes could lead to more robust water networks, more responsive air quality monitoring, reliable autonomous driving, precision manufacturing, and more.


The work, supported by a grant of nearly £4.2m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), brings together world-leading research expertise in sensor software, formal modelling and verification, network deployment, autonomy, uncertainty, and programming.

A number of companies and scientific organisations are also involved, including ABB, British Geological Survey, CENSIS, Freescale, Rolls-Royce, Thales and Transport Scotland.

Liverpool’s contribution to the S4 activity, led by Professor Michael Fisher from the University’s Department of Computer Science, has a particular focus on formal methods, programming, and analysis of sensor networks.

Autonomy and Verification Lab

Professor Fisher said: “This is an exciting and important activity, complementing and extending our research on analysis and programming at the Autonomy and Verification Lab within the Department of Computer Science. “

“Working with internationally leading researchers from Glasgow, Imperial and St. Andrews we will be able to pursue broader and more ambitious targets and so help develop reliable, effective, and flexible sensor network solutions for use in practice.”

Professor Muffy Calder, head of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Glasgow, said: “We’re pleased and proud to have won the backing of EPSRC through their Programme Grant scheme for this very exciting project.”

“Although sensors are becoming ever more commonplace in all kinds of devices around us and in our everyday lives, sensors themselves and the environments in which they operate are very uncertain: we don’t have a unifying science to ensure that the systems and the information they provide is resilient, responsive, reliable and robust.”

“By the end of the project the team will have answered a number of fundamental questions about how to design, deploy and reason about sensor based systems, developing new principles, techniques and tools, alongside simulations and physical sensor testbeds for experimentation.”

Glowing big data particles, computer generated abstract background






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