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13 June 2024

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Test-of-time award for article co-authored by St Hugh’s Fellow

The 2006 article titled “Reachability Analysis of Controlled Discrete-Time Stochastic Hybrid Systems”, which appeared in the Proceedings of the “Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control” (HSCC) Conference, held in Santa Barbara (CA) in March 2006, and is co-authored by Professor Alessandro Abate, St Hugh’s Tutorial Fellow in Computer Science, has been awarded the 2024 HSCC “Test of Time” award. This prize is given to “recognise work published at an HSCC conference that has proven to be the most visionary and impactful, leading to new directions of research being initiated, or new applications being brought into the hybrid systems research community”.

The contribution constitutes one of Alessandro’s first publications and indeed underpins his doctoral work. It laid the foundations of a rich-yet-crisp class of dynamical models endowed with uncertainty, known as Stochastic Hybrid Systems, which have become core models of modern Cyber-Physical Systems, namely complex engineering systems where physical/analogue features have dynamics that are interleaved and affected by cyber/digital components – CPS are core in embedded systems and modern end-to-end AI applications. This seminal contribution has been since expanded by a number of groups world-wide, leading to numerous PhD dissertations, and has been transferred to quite a few applications of industrial relevance, particularly in the areas of assured autonomy and of smart energy systems, in collaboration with key industrial partners.

Alessandro has recently attended HSCC 2024, the 27th conference in the series, in Hong Kong (SAR China), there providing a presentation during a bespoke plenary session, where he discussed the context, contributions, and ramification of his 2006 contribution. He says “I am honoured to receive this award from the HSCC community, which I recognise in having shaped many of my research interests. I am glad to see that my work, which goes back to my doctoral studies and spans areas across formal verification and control theory, has been recognised for its significance and impact. It’s exciting to be continuing this line of work here at Oxford: there is still so much more to understand and develop.”

At St Hugh’s College Alessandro is Fellow and Tutor, and teaches to students reading Computer Science and Maths & Computer Science:

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