Distinguished Visiting Chair  |  Liu, Jane Win Shih  
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Research Descriptions

       At University of Illinios in Urbana-Champaign, my research focus was on theories, algorithms, architectures and tools for building real-time and embedded systems from components and validating their timing performance efficiently and reliably. The decades before year 2000 have ushered in tremendous advances in technologies needed to ensure predictable timing behavior and enable rigorous validation of real-time systems built from commodity hardware and software components. Techniques for these purposes enabled my students and me to build in mid 90''s PERTS (Prototyping Environment for Real-Time Systems), a system of schedulers and tools: PERTS puts important scheduling, resource management, and validation theorems and algorithms in a form ready for use by developers to validate, simulate and evaluate design alternatives of systems with critical timing requirements. PERTS was distributed to numerous universities and research laboratories worldwide and has been enhanced and commercialized. My students and I also developed the underlying principle of an open architecture for real-time applications. A common assumption underlying existing real-time techniques and standards at the time is that the system is closed. To determine whether an application can meet its timing requirements, one must analyze detailed timing attributes and resource usages of all applications that share the platform. The need for detailed information prohibits independent development of components and invariably limits the configurability of real-time systems. Our open real-time system principle, convincingly demonstrated by Windows and Linux prototypes, makes it possible to tune and validate in an open environment the timing behavior of a real-time component independent of other components in the system and enables independently developed real-time and non-real-time applications to run together.

       When I first joined Institute of Information Science, my research focused on technologies for building user-centric  automation and assistive devices and systems. Some of the user-centric automation devices are designed to enhance the quality of life and self-reliance of their users, including elderly individuals as well as people who are chronically ill or functionally limited. Other devices can also serve as point-of-care and automation tools for use at home and in care-providing institutions. Examples include smart medication dispensers and administration tools, autonomous home appliances and robotic helpers. These devices are human-centric, meaning that they are used at their users’ discretion, often for the purpose of complementing and compensating users’ skills and weaknesses. Such a device or system should be easily configured to work with a variety of sensors and rely on different support infrastructures. It should be customizable according to its user’s preferences and able to adapt to changes in user’s needs, mindset and skills. A major thrust of our research has been directed towards system architecture, components, platforms and tools for building such devices and systems at low-cost, including the development of an embedded workflow framework and a simulation environment. Results of this work and links to open source software projects can be found at SISARL homepage

    My work on disaster preparedness and response specifically and disaster management in general, has been within the thematic projects OpenISDM (Open Information Systems for Disaster Management, 2012-2015) and DRBoaST (Disaster Resilience through Big open Data and Smart Things, 2016-2018), both supported by Academia Sinica, Sustainability Science Research Program.  The major thrust of OpenISDM project was on technological foundation of a framework for building open and sustainability disaster mangement information systems (DMIS): During an emergency, an open and sustainability DMIS can facilitate the discovery, access and use of data and information from sources owned by government and non-government entities, delivery of critical decision support data on a highly available and timely basis, exploit synergistically the use of data and information from networks of smart things and crowd of people and support the active use of early warnings to enhance disaster preparedness of our homes and environment. Building on the accomplishments of OpenISDM project, project DRBoaST further emphasizes the use of big and open data and smart things to help us minimize personal danger and reduce property damages when disasters strike. Publications and presentations on our recent work and results can be found at OpenISDM Homepage