Even though modern service-oriented and data-oriented architectures promise to deliver loosely coupled control systems, they are inherently brittle as they commonly depend on a priori agreed interfaces and data models. At the same time, the Semantic Web and a whole set of accompanying standards and tools are emerging, advocating ontologies as the basis for knowledge exchange. In this paper we aim to identify a number of key ideas from the myriad of knowledge-based practices that can readily be implemented by control systems today. We demonstrate with a practical example (a three-channel imager for the Mercator Telescope) how ontologies developed in the Web Ontology Language (OWL) can serve as a meta-model for our instrument, covering as many engineering aspects of the project as needed. We show how a concrete system model can be built on top of this meta-model via a set of Domain Specific Languages (DSLs), supporting both formal verification and the generation of software and documentation artifacts. Finally we reason how the available semantics can be exposed at run-time by adding a “semantic layer” that can be browsed, queried, monitored etc. by any OPC UA-enabled client.
Date added: Tue, 22 Oct 13