The Transregional Collaborative Research Centre 248 “Foundations of Perspicuous Software Systems” aims at enabling comprehension in a cyber-physical world with the human in the loop.

From autonomous vehicles to Industry 4.0, from smart homes to smart cities – increasingly computer programs participate in actions and decisions that affect humans. However, our understanding of how these applications interact and what is the cause of a specific automated decision is lagging far behind.

With the increase in cyber-physical technology impacting our lives, the consequences of this gradual loss in understanding are becoming severe. Systems lack support for making their behaviour plausible to their users. And even for technology experts it is nowadays virtually impossible to provide scientifically well-founded answers to questions about the exact reasons that lead to a particular decision, or about the responsibility for a malfunctioning.

The root cause of the problem is that contemporary systems do not have any built-in concepts to explicate their behaviour. They calculate and propagate outcomes of computations, but are not designed to provide explanations. They are not perspicuous.

Seamless support for perspicuity is a formidable and largely unsolved scientific challenge. The Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio 248 takes up this challenge. It lays the scientific foundations for designing, analysing and interacting with computerised systems that explicate their functioning. We call them Perspicuous Systems.

You can visit the project’s official website for further information.

 

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