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This paper defines a reconfiguration method for the class of discrete-event systems (DES) that is subject to linear constraints as their control specifications. Some existing methods for enforcing these constraints make use of Petri-net P-invariants for controller synthesis. These methods are quite appealing because their computational complexity is much more tractable than most other methods for controller synthesis. However, a common limitation of all existing P-invariant-based control architectures for DES plants is the assumption that the linear constraints defining the control specification of the plant do not change over time. Here, we relax this assumption and allow the control specifications to change during controller runtime. Under certain assumptions on DES behavior, we automatically reconfigure the DES controller after the control specification is changed. In addition, if the current state of the controlled DES has become infeasible under the new control specification, we automatically generate a so-called plant reconfiguration procedure whose execution leads the system back to a feasible state. This reconfiguration procedure is optimal in that it seeks to minimize the cost of reconfiguration actions through an Integer Programming (IP) model. The objective function of the IP model can be used to generate reconfiguration solutions that meet some desired properties. Depending on the cost of each reconfiguration action, a minimum cost reconfiguration solution may use only actions contained in the current plant configuration (an internal response), or ask for a change in the plant configuration, for instance, by adding new resources (an external response), or a combination of both strategies. Finally, we illustrate our method by applying it to a hospital control system example. Note to Practitioners-This paper proposes a dynamic reconfiguration framework that can revise the operations of systems whose control requirements change over time. The proposed frame- work can be applied to systems that satisfy the following two assumptions. First, the behavior of the system under study is described in terms of a set of discrete states and events. Events will cause the system to transition between states. Second, the control requirements must be expressed by linear equalities and inequalities on the system states. Under these circumstances, the proposed framework can identify an optimal transition to a new control policy that satisfies the new control requirements. Moreover, the system under consideration will continue operating while this transition is taking place. One application of this method is in modifying hospital control strategies when a hospital experiences unexpected events. In this case, the hospital operations-such as patient handling, resource assignment, and procedure scheduling-can be represented by discrete state models (e.g., Petri nets). Constraints on these operations can be modeled by linear inequalities on hospital and patient state. Upon a change in the constraints, the proposed reconfiguration method revises the hospital control strategies. For example, a shift in the hospital service demands (e.g., an increase in the flow of patients to the hospital due to a mass casualty situation) can be translated to changes in the constraints. In this case, the hospital operations must be revised to accommodate the new constraints without disrupting the operation of the hospital. The reconfiguration method of this paper provides a framework for modeling the reconfiguration steps and for calculating the least cost reconfiguration solution.
Automation Science and Engineering, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:5 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Jan. 2008