Renowned cyber-physical systems researcher Sztipanovits honored with symposium

Georgia Tech colleague: “You are the reason the field exists.”

A progenitor of the Internet of Things celebrated his 70th birthday with a surprise, day-long symposium and party that brought together some of the world’s most renowned researchers in cyber-physical systems.

Colleagues greeted Janos Sztipanovits, the E. Bronson Ingram Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Vanderbilt University and founding director of the Institute for Software Integrated Systems, with wild applause as he entered Vanderbilt University’s Wyatt Center on July 29. He chuckled and shook his head as he noted the symposium banners and party décor.

“It caught me totally by surprise,” Sztipanovits said later. “I walked in expecting a meeting with the mayor’s office. Needless to say, when I realized what was going on, I was petrified.

“Seriously, I really appreciate all of these people coming.”

After a greeting by Professor Gabor Karsai, associate director of Vanderbilt’s Institute for Software Integrated Systems, Dean Philippe Fauchet gave a presentation on Nashville, Vanderbilt and the School of Engineering for assembled guests.

Click through a gallery from the 70th birthday symposium

Fauchet recalled a challenging schedule of back-to-back meetings when he was considering coming to Vanderbilt in 2012 — perhaps none more challenging than the briefing with Sztipanovits on the institute.

“It was the only meeting I left with a headache. It’s very complex,” Fauchet said. “Now I can talk about it. For this audience, I am still an amateur, but when I explain it to alumni, they get it. Remember the old slogan, Intel inside? I think that works for this, because what you do is inside so many systems.”

Janos Sztipanovits listens to symposium speakers. (Alan Poizner for Vanderbilt University)

As for how Sztipanovits’ work has impacted cyber-physical systems, Marilyn Wolf, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Tech, described it this way: “You’re not only one of the best in the field. You are the reason the field exists.”

After a day of presentations by researchers who have learned under Sztipanovits or added to his work, Sztipanovits and his family greeted guests at a reception and dinner. The evening ended with blowing out birthday cake candles.

The presenters were:

  • Edward Griffor, National Institute of Standards and Technology, An Algebra for Cyber-Physical Systems
  • Marilyn Wolf, Georgia Tech, Reflections on Model Integrated Computing and Cyber-Physical Systems
  • Bob Laddaga, Vanderbilt University, AI Technology for Protecting Cyber-Physical Systems
  • Paul Robertson, Dynamic Object Language Labs, Modeling Mode Transitions in Cyber-Physical Systems
  • Edward Lee, University of California-Berkeley, Fundamental Limits of Cyber-Physical Systems Modeling
  • Sherif Abdelwahed, Mississippi State University, On the Application of Model-predictive Control Techniques for Power Management in Electric Ships
  • Ruzena Bajcsy, University of California-Berkeley, Framework for Individualized Dynamical Modeling of Human Motion
  • Wolfram Schulte, Microsoft, A Domain-Specific Language Odyssey

The presentations ended with a panel that included the National Science Foundation’s David Corman plus Griffor, Lee, Robertson and Schulte that sought to describe challenges and predict changes in the field of cyber-physical systems for the next 70 years.

Sztipanovits graduated summa cum laude from the Technical University of Budapest in 1970 and received his doctorate from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1980. He won Hungary’s Golden Ring of the Republic in 1982 and the National Prize in 1985.

The Institute for Software Integrated Systems opened in 1998. Between 1999 and 2002, Sztipanovits worked as program manager and deputy director of DARPA Information Technology Office.  He was member of the U.S. Air Force Science Advisory Board between 2006 and 2010. His current research interest includes the foundation and applications of model and component-based design of Cyber Physical Systems, design space exploration and systems-security co-design technology. He leads the CPS Virtual Organization and he is co-chair the CPS Reference Architecture and Definition public working group established by NIST in 2014. In 2014/2015 he was elected to be member of the Steering Committee of the Industrial Internet Consortium. He was founding chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Embedded Software (SIGBED). Dr. Sztipanovits was elected Fellow of the IEEE in 2000 and external member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2010.

Sztipanovitz blows out candles with his wife, Agnes, and daughter Dora Sztipanovits Mathe.


Heidi Hall, (615) 322-6614
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