In 2019, CPEC embarked on a research mission to explore the foundations of perspicuous computing. At its roots has been the observation that the explosion of opportunities for software-driven innovations comes with an implosion of human opportunities and capabilities to understand and control these innovations.

We identified the root cause of the problem: Contemporary IT- and AI-based systems, subsystems, and applications do not have any built-in concepts to explicate their behaviour. They generate and propagate outcomes of computations, but are not meant to provide explications, justifications, or plausibilisations of the outcomes. They are not perspicuous.

Since then, CPEC has been working on the formidable scientific challenge of seamless support for perspicuity. We have studied perspicuity across the entire system lifecycle, spanning design-time, run-time, and, in case of a malfunctioning or an optimisation effort, inspection-time. We have laid the scientific foundations for designing, analysing, and interacting with perspicuous systems, computerised systems that explicate their functioning.

Here are three examples of how we work in CPEC:

CPEC is structured in three project groups, each of them addressing a different facet of perspicuous computing research. Below, you can see the project groups as well as the individual projects themselves.

Analyse & Explicate – Project Group A

The project group Analyse & Explicate lays the foundations for analysis techniques as well as explication support across the entire system lifecycle, identifying and explicating causes and effects, thereby establishing the algorithmic principles of perspicuity for human stakeholders.
Classical verification techniques that aim at determining whether a system (model) satisfies a given specification (or not) are often unsatisfactory in practice. Perspicuous verification techniques… Read More
Principal Investigators: Christel Baier, Rupak Majumdar, Joël Ouaknine
The main goal of the project is to develop novel techniques for the user-adaptive explication of knowledge-based reasoning, and to combine them with the explication… Read More
Principal Investigators: Franz Baader, Stefan Borgwardt, Markus Krötzsch, Antonio Krüger
A crucial step towards perspicuity of data-driven AI systems is to improve our understanding of why such a system acts the way it does. In… Read More
Principal Investigators: Isabel Valera, Markus Langer

Construct – Project Group C

The project group Construct lays the foundations for the construction of perspicuous computing systems, developing methodologies that support a high-level understanding of the relevant factors determining the system’s behaviour.
The goal of this project is to develop programming abstractions for CPS applications, together with reasoning and verification techniques for correctness, synthesis techniques across continuous… Read More
Principal Investigators: Bernd Finkbeiner, Stefan Gumhold, Rupak Majumdar
A typical embedded device maintains and periodically updates a behaviour model of its surrounding world, on which it bases its decisions. In full generality, this… Read More
Principal Investigators: Christel Baier, Holger Hermanns, Sven Apel
Future dependable systems are expected to be dynamic in the sense that they need to be adaptable in the field, to hanging needs and according… Read More
Principal Investigators: Christof Fetzer, Holger Hermanns, Jörg Hoffmann
The mission of this project is to develop the foundational concepts, algorithmic methods, and tools needed to construct cyber-physical systems whose behaviour is described in… Read More
Principal Investigators: Raimund Dachselt, Bernd Finkbeiner, Markus Krötzsch, Anne-Kathrin Schmuck
In dynamic environments, at design-time it is hard or impossible to model and tackle all possible circumstances that may arise; run-time planning serves to take… Read More
Principal Investigators: Maria Christakis, Jörg Hoffmann, Isabel Valera

Explain & Interact – Project Group E

The project group Explain & Interact develops advances in human-computer interaction, visualisation, natural language processing, psychology, and law research with respect to the seamless design, control, and inspection of cyber-physical systems with the goal of achieving perspicuity for diverse types of users, in diverse system settings, enabling the fulfilment of societal desiderata and norms throughout the entire lifecycle of such systems.
This project aims at developing novel visualisation concepts that facilitate human-centred explanation of formal explications of logic-based approaches. We will conduct visualisation research for formal… Read More
Principal Investigators: Franz Baader, Christel Baier, Raimund Dachselt
Project E2 designs safe human-to-machine handover techniques in mixed-initiative control and addresses the recent trend to human oversight in autonomous vehicles and aviation. If a… Read More
Principal Investigators: Stefan Borgwardt, Vera Demberg, Jörg Hoffmann, Antonio Krüger
The goal of this project is to establish methods and tools that enable information integration and analysis of CPS behaviour at inspection time. We will… Read More
Principal Investigators: Raimund Dachselt, Markus Krötzsch, Antonio Krüger, Sven Apel
This project will investigate immersive visualisation techniques for large heterogeneous datasets partially embedded in physical space with a focus on inspection-time analysis. First, we study… Read More
Principal Investigators: Raimund Dachselt, Stefan Gumhold, Jörg Hoffmann
Project E6 focuses on how to effectively communicate information between automated systems and human users overseeing them, e.g., in drone control centres. It develops an… Read More
Principal Investigators: Vera Demberg, Jörg Hoffmann, Anna Maria Feit
Project E7 augments the predominantly computational focus of TRR 248 by an interdisciplinary interface to societal desiderata. This will be achieved by a tight integration… Read More
Principal Investigators: Holger Hermanns, Anne Lauber-Rönsberg

Completed Projects

The following projects were completed at the end of the first funding phase.
The vision of the project is to provide an algorithmic framework for the analysis of dynamical and hybrid automata models and corresponding explication mechanisms. While… Read More
Principal Investigators: Christel Baier, Joël Ouaknine
The vision of the project is to develop a new theory for probabilistic causation in stochastic automata models with nondeterminism. It will yield the foundations… Read More
Principal Investigators: Christel Baier, Bernd Finkbeiner, Rupak Majumdar
This project investigates perspicuous supervision of technical systems, carried out in a read data—analyse—react loop (RAR loop) several times per second. Our vision is a… Read More
Principal Investigators: Christof Fetzer, Markus Krötzsch
The goal of this project is an explication framework for machine learning techniques with a particular focus on neural networks. As current classifiers are extremely… Read More
Principal Investigators: Stefan Gumhold
This project aims to improve understandability of erroneous behaviour in cyber-physical systems using program analysis techniques. Toward this, first, we will establish the fundamental tools… Read More
Principal Investigators: Maria Christakis, Christof Fetzer