Civil security, defense, manufacturing, medtech, telecommunication and transportation products account for about 20 percent of Swedish GDP and employ nationally one million people. It is widely recognized, internationally and in Sweden, that the ongoing trend of digitalization will profoundly impact all these industrial areas over the next decade.
This digitalization of industries is challenging due to the increasing amounts of software and data involved, and the increasing number of distributed and interacting devices in combination with imposed performance (e.g. response-time) and quality (e.g. safety, security, resilience) requirements. There is a broad consensus among academia and industry that common digital infrastructures relying on cloud compute centers will not suffice for industrial digitalization at scale. Instead, another architecture is about to emerge referred to as edge computing systems, where the locality of compute services is central. Edge computing promises to provide solutions by complementing today’s embedded systems/devices and cloud systems.
However, for such future solutions to be acceptable and useful in industry and society, it is essential that the constituent systems and applications become trustworthy – i.e. predictable, secure and safe. Achieving these characteristics in edge computing raises fundamental challenges with respect to self-learning algorithms, new attack surfaces, integrated communication and computation paths, as well as cost-efficient design and operation.
Collaboration for trustworthiness in industrial digitalization
There is at present a unique opportunity to drive research on the trustworthiness of edge computing systems and to position Sweden at the forefront of this area, which is projected to provide the bulk of the IT infrastructure on which services and industrial digitalization will be provided. As a response, the proposed competence center targets the exploration and provisioning of novel trustworthy edge computing systems and applications.
Motivated by strong business drivers, the importance of the area for Sweden, industrially relevant research challenges and promising preliminary results, eight academic experts at KTH have joined forces with industrial partners Atlas Copco, Elekta, Ericsson, Saab, and ÅF as well as eight SMEs, to create a sustainable Swedish environment for research, education and industrial development in the area of edge computing.