About the Program
This program is a full-time program lasting four quarters plus summer at the University of California, Irvine. Coursework includes eleven foundational courses with lectures and laboratory, and two project courses leading to a final project. Courses emphasize embedded systems: hardware and software, sensor networks, real-time systems, artificial intelligence, machine learning, security, control and entrepreneurship. To earn the degree, students must complete 48 units including a capstone project. Courses are offered in technology-enhanced form. Check out a recorded informational session here.
The Master of Embedded & Cyber-physical Systems (MECPS) was designed by a group of faculty from the Henry Samueli School of Engineering (HSSoE) and the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Science (DBSICS). The curriculum focuses on Embedded and Cyber-physical Systems.
Embedded computer systems are now entrenched into almost every aspect of our daily life, rivaling in ubiquity anything that exists today. Currently, we have tools to help us design embedded systems, making good use of available technologies at a variety of levels and scales, from hardware to interface, operating system, middleware, and software. The MECPS program is designed to integrate all of these aspects.
Cyber Physical Systems
Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) is also referred to as Internet of Things (IoT). CPS are systems-of-systems that tightly couple their cyber (i.e. computation, communication and control), and physical components (sensing and actuation) in the context of applications such as (but not limited to): automotive and transportation, manufacturing, power distribution grid, medical and healthcare, robotics, civil infrastructure, avionics, etc. Thus, these Cyber-physical Systems marry knowledge from the fields of embedded systems, networking, sensors, real-time systems and control, as well as domain-specific knowledge to realize systems that are of untapped complexity and scale.
It is predicted that by 2025 over 75 billion devices will connect our homes, buildings, factories, cars, transportation infrastructure, and even our bodies to the Internet. [Source: IHS 2019] This represents close to 10 devices for every living human! It is expected that the economy of Embedded & Cyber-Physical Systems (ECPS) and affiliated industries, or what is now referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) will exceed $6-14 trillion into the next decade. These numbers give us confidence that graduates who are trained in this domain will be capable of significantly contributing to the engineering community.
Ahmed Eltawil explains more about the Professional Master of Cyber-physical Systems.
Coursework includes eleven foundational courses with lectures and laboratory, and two project courses (highlighted) leading to a final graduation project.
ECPS 202: Cyber-physical Systems Design
Credit Units: 4
Description: Model-based design of cyber-physical systems including, e.g. plant, sensing, control, actuation, embedded hardware/software, communication, real-time analysis, various levels of simulation (MILS, SILS, HILS), tools and methodologies for automatic synthesis, and applications from various interdisciplinary domains. The objective of the course is to teach concepts and techniques to design and develop interdisciplinary cyber-physical systems.
- Introduction to CPS and applications
- Modeling dynamic behavior, continuous dynamics
- Discrete modeling and composition of state machines
- Hybrid systems
- Concurrent models of computation
- Embedded Hardware
- Overview of control algorithms and embedded Software
- Multitasking, mapping, and scheduling
- Design Methodologies and tools
- Project presentations, discussion
This course answers the following questions:
- What is a Cyber-Physical System (CPS)? What are the difference and similarities among CPS, Embedded systems, Control systems, Mechatronics, Real-time systems, and Sensor networking disciplines?
- What are the challenges to design a CPS?
- Why are physical modeling and hybrid modeling important to understand CPS systems?
- Why do we need co-simulation techniques to develop a CPS?
- Why is timing concept so important in the CPS design?
- Why is security a critical factor in the CPS design?
- Why does data privacy need to be taken care of in a CPS design?
- What are the potential application areas for CPS:
- Cyber-Physical Energy systems
- Cyber-Physical Medical Systems
- Cyber-Physical Transportation systems
- Cyber-Physical Manufacturing — Digital Manufacturing
Computer Usage: C/C++, Matlab/Simulink and/or Labview and/or Modelica.
Prerequisites: ECPS 205 and ECPS 206
ECPS 203: Embedded System Modeling and Design
Credit Units: 4
Description: The goal of the course is to teach students design of custom embedded systems from specification and requirements to architecture and register-transfer level design. The goals will be assessed by homeworks, exams and projects to design particular simple embedded systems. Student should have basic prerequisites algorithms, architecture and operating systems and basic concepts of digital design.
- Embedded systems definition, specification, abstraction levels, requirements, examples
- System Design methodologies, abstraction levels, modeling, synthesis , verification
- Modeling, models of computation, modeling languages, modeling semantics and algorithms, modeling processors levels and communication layers
- System synthesis, transaction level design , platform synthesis, model mapping and estimation
- Software synthesis overview, code generation, multi-task synthesis, internal and external communication
- Hardware synthesis, register-transfer architecture, models and languages, estimation and optimization, datapath and control design, chaining, multi-cycling and pipelining
- Verification, simulation based techniques, formal verification methods, model checking and theorem proving, verification by refinement
- Embedded design practice, system, software, and hardware tools, case studies
ECPS 204: Embedded System Software
Credit Units: 4
Description: Embedded system software requirements, concepts, and examples for applications in the cyber-physical domain. Top-down software design methodology from specification to implementation. Component based design. Real-time and distributed operating systems. Platform independent and hardware dependent software. Cross-compilation, simulation, emulation. The objective of the course is a) to enable student to understand embedded software development and concepts in the cyber-physical world. b) To design, specify, implement and debug embedded software components, and c) To understand dependencies between software components and the underlying physical hardware.
- Embedded software concepts and requirements
- Real-time and cyber-physical requirements
- Real-time operating systems
- Software design methodology
- Design flow from specification to implementation
- Software components and generation
- Platform independent software
- Hardware-dependent software
- Target platforms, processors, devices
- Cross-compilation, simulation, emulation
Computer Usage: Embedded software design tools.
Pre-requirements: Students should have basic programming skills.
ECPS 205: Sensors, Actuators and Sensor Networks
Credit Units: 4
Description: The course focuses on developing a thorough understanding of sensors, actuators and sensor networks spanning deployment, system architecture and communication requirements. MAC protocols, data gathering, routing and queuing are covered by using lectures and a series of specific examples. These illustrate and require the student to understand analysis and design of sensors networks.
- Motivation to use Wireless Sensor Networks.
- Case studies and Applications
- Node Architecture
- Physical Layer
- Operating Systems
- Medium Access Control
- Power Management
- Network Layer
- Time Synchronization
Computer Usage: Matlab, C/C++ Programming
ECPS 206: Real-time & Distributed Systems
Credit Units: 4
Description: With the maturity of communication network and Internet connection, all future CPS devices will be designed to be independently running systems with their own sensing, processing and networking capabilities, or as distributed systems. In addition, CPS devices must perform in real time for physical sensing and actuating support. The goal of this course is to build the knowledge in students so that they have the theoretical foundation and practical skill for building future CPS systems. This course covers the principles of building real-time and distributed systems in many hardware platforms and applications being developed for engineering and control as well as for ubiquitous systems and CPS applications. As part of this course, students will learn about real-time and distributed system principle, understand real-time scheduling, operating systems, distributed coordination, and critical resource management. Students will study applications on popular platforms for sensing and control applications. Platforms include networked devices used in application-specific contexts, such as smart sensors and controllers.
- Real-time computing model: system model for real time tasks, timing and performance requirements.
- Real-time scheduling theory: periodic and aperiodic task models, theoretical foundation and scheduling algorithms
- Distributed computing principle: basic network protocols and location transparency to enable resources access within network connection.
- Concurrency coordination: enables several processes and devices to operate concurrently using shared resources without interference between them.
- Failure transparency: enables the concealment of faults, allowing application programs to complete their tasks despite the failure of hardware or software components.
- Performance assurance: methods to allow a system to be configured to guarantee the application performance.
ECPS 207: Security & Privacy in CPS
Credit Units: 4
As specialized computing devices and components rapidly proliferate into many aspects of everyday life, including: automotive, avionics, household automation, and medicine. This course will cover modern security and privacy issues in Embedded Systems (ES) and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). The main goal is for students to attain familiarity with the range of threats and countermeasures facing ES/CPS. Material will include necessary cryptography background for students without prior exposure to that topic, as well as a primer on security protocols. The core of the course will focus on recent developments in security and privacy in ES/CPS. As this is a fast-moving field with constant research advances, the exact list of topics is expected to change every few years. Students are expected to know basic ES/CPS concepts and have some familiarity with Operating Systems and Networking.
- Introduction to ES/CPS, Overview of Terminology and Basic Concepts in Security & Privacy
- ES/CPS Security Threats, Examples of Concrete Attacks, Lessons Learned
- Side-Channel Attacks: range and mitigation techniques
- Security Protocols involving ES/CPS components
- Midterm exam, Project mid-point review
- Public key and symmetric cryptography, Key management
- RFID devices: unique privacy and security considerations
- Remote Attestation Techniques: Software- and Hardware-based
- Physically Unclonable Functions (PUFs), their applications and limitations
- Review of covered material, Project Presentations
ECPS 208: Control Systems for Cyber-physical Systems
Credit Units: 4
Description: Analysis of structural vibration of mechanical systems. Modeling for lumped and distributed parameter systems, free and forced vibrations, Fourier series, convolution integral, mass stiffness matrices, and normal modes with design project. Prerequisites: Systems/Signal (e.g., and Linear Algebra). The goals of the course are Analysis of structural vibration of mechanical systems. Modeling for lumped and distributed parameter systems, free and forced vibrations, Fourier series, convolution integral, mass stiffness matrices, and normal modes with design project.
- State space representation (continuous and discrete)
- Input-output representation and their relationships to state space models
- Controllability and observability
- Pole placement, deadbeat controllers, LQR and model predictive control
- Introduction to optimization for linear systems: constrained and unconstrained problems
- Application of optimization for control of CPS: MPC, decentralized optimization and collaborative control of multi-agent systems
- Case studies: car charging protocol, demand shifting in district cooling
Computer Usage: Matlab
Prerequisites: Systems/Signal (e.g., and Linear Algebra). Students are expected to know Elementary differential equations and linear algebra. Student should have taken a basic course in systems and signals, in both continuous and discrete time domains (Laplace and Z Transforms).
ECPS 209: Cyber-physical Systems Case Studies
Credit Units: 4
Description: Seminar course covering CPS case studies in application areas such as: automotive and transportation, manufacturing, power distribution grid, medical and healthcare, robotics, civil infrastructure, and avionics.
- Module 1: Smart and Connected Health
- 3 week Module
- Module 2: Smart Home Applications
- 3 week Module
- Module 3: Transportation CPS
- 3 week Module
ECPS 210: Cyber-physical Systems Project
Credit Units: 8
Description: Students are required to complete a project that deals with a specific emphasis of Cyber-Physical Systems. This can be in applications such as (but not limited to): automotive and transportation, manufacturing, power distribution grid, medical and healthcare, robotics., civil infrastructure, avionics.
- To design, build and test a cyber-physical system.
- Identify a problem and formulate a strategy to solve it in a systematic fashion with given constraints of time, budget and other resources.
- Generate necessary project reports such as project proposal, project time-line, design reports, final reports, etc.
- Work in teams.
- Consider the economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health, safety, regulatory, security and privacy impact of their final product.
ECPS 211: Fundamentals of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Credit Units: 4
Description: The study of theories and computational models for systems which behave and act in an intelligent manner. Fundamental subdisciplines of artificial intelligence including knowledge representation, search, deduction, planning, probabilistic reasoning, natural language parsing and comprehension, knowledge-based systems, and learning.
- Knowledge representation
- Search deduction
- Probabilistic reasoning
- Natural language parsing and comprehension
- Knowledge-based systems
ECPS 212: Entrepreneurship for Scientists and Engineers Systems
Credit Units: 4
Description: Real-world introduction to the theory and practice of entrepreneurship. Explore organizational, strategic, and financial challenges; start-up strategies; business idea evaluation; and business plan writing. Presentations by prestigious entrepreneurs and industry leaders.
- Technology entrepreneur
- Building a business plan and presentation:reasons, form, and content
- Identifying a business idea opportunity
- Building a competitive advantage
- Business innovation strategies
- Core competencies and outsourcing strategy
- Marketing and sales plan
- Leadership of entrepreneurial organizations
- Legal formation of a company and intellectual property
- Sources of capital funding for start-ups
- Exit strategies for investors
ECPS 295: Special Topics in CPS
Credit Units: 4
Description: Studies in selected areas of CPS. Topics addressed vary each quarter.
Example: Autonomous Systems (Spring 2023)
Watch a video from the ECPS 203 Drone Flight Project.
The MECPS program is focused on preparing graduates for employment in industries such as electronics, aerospace, automotive, biomedical, manufacturing, robotics, security, defense, and construction. Rather than having a research focus, the program will require students to acquire integrative knowledge of systems, as well as hands-on knowledge and experience in an applied domain through a capstone project.
Projects can be individual or group projects. Students will select a particular emphasis area and will be assigned a faculty mentor, or will select a mentor whose area of expertise matches the project’s scope. The project will effectively start with Case Studies in CPS 209 and continue through CPS 210. The project selection process parallels the MS thesis topic selection process in a traditional MS programs, or the senior design project selection process common in engineering programs. In some cases, projects are proposed by students, in other cases by their faculty mentor.
Watch a video about a graduation project or someone talking about it..
During the summer quarter, students can either engage in an industry sponsored internship or decide to focus on their graduation project, both of which will provide students with valuable training to secure future engagement with industry. Throughout the program, we organize a number of events that allow students to interact with industry representatives.
Build Your Resume
More than 50% of our students have received job offers before graduation.
After graduation, 100% of our students were hired within 3 months in industries including IoT Stack Design, Firmware Engineering, Cloud Programming, Defense Systems, Home Automation, Information Technology, Software Engineering and Software Development.
Cyber Physical Systems
Science of Embedded Systems
As these systems grow in scale, complexity, and integration levels, there is a need to move towards a science of embedded systems, addressing the foundational aspects of design. Now that we have a better understanding of the basics of embedded systems, it is equally important to branch out to the application of such systems. This requires addressing domain-specific issues and the scale-up in complexity introduced by what is referred to today as Cyber-physical Systems.
Cyber-physical Systems (CPS) are systems-of-systems that tightly couple their cyber (i.e. computation, communication and control), and physical components (sensing and actuation) in the context of applications such as (but not limited to): automotive and transportation, manufacturing, power distribution grid, medical and healthcare, robotics, civil infrastructure, avionics, etc. Thus, these Cyber-physical Systems marry knowledge from the fields of embedded computer systems, networking, sensors, real-time systems and control as well as domain-specific knowledge to realize systems that are of untapped complexity and scale.
Domains in CPS
The following domains have been identified as major areas in CPS (although other areas are constantly being added to the list):
- Advanced Manufacturing: smart production equipment, processes, automation, control, and networks; new product design.
- Transportation/Automotive: intelligent vehicles and traffic control, intelligent structures and pavements.
- Smart Infrastructure: smart utility grids and smart buildings/ structures, civil infrastructure, smart homes.
- Health Care: body area networks and assistive systems, elderly home care and monitoring, networked implantable devices.
- Emergency Response and Cyber-Enhanced Security: detection and surveillance systems, situational awareness, communication networks, and emergency response equipment.
- Sustainable development: Water, pollution, waste, etc.
A key report commisioned by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) states the importance of CPS, recommends transformative ideas, and points to a major barrier.
Robots, intelligent buildings, implantable medical devices, cars that drive themselves or planes that automatically fly in a controlled airspace—these are all examples of cyber-physical systems (CPS). The future applications of CPS are more transformative than the IT revolution of the past three decades. Next-generation CPS will be able to execute extraordinary tasks that are barely imagined today…
…a key visionary element of the future of education for CPS is the availability of recognized educational programs that offer the fundamentals of CPS though a multi-disciplinary curriculum…
…Lack of a CPS degree that cuts across multiple disciplines, hindered by stove piped nature of university structure…
First of Its Kind
This degree is a first in the US to focus on both Embedded and Cyber-physical Systems.
Being managed by a center that falls at the intersection of Engineering and Computer Science disciplines, it overcomes the hindrances observed by the NIST report discussed above.
Our graduates have an integrative knowledge of fundamentals that include software, hardware, sensing, and actuation control and hands-on knowledge through practical projects in a targeted application domain.
Well Rounded Education
Graduates of Computer Science and/or Engineering are ideally suited to apply and enter the MECPS program.
In recent years, we find that as undergrads work on senior design projects they get familiar with Embedded and Cyber-physical Systems and gain an appreciation for the domain. Indeed, many of these students state that hands-on knowledge of systems is a highlight of their educational experience at UCI, and want to see more of it in the future. The MECPS program directly addresses that point.
Fadi Kurdahi explains more about Cyber-Physical Systems.
Our Graduates Have Exciting Careers
After graduation, 100% of our students were hired within 3 months in industries including IoT stack design, Firmware Engineering, Cloud Programming, Defense Systems, Home Automation, Information Technology, Software Engineering and Software Development.
Even before graduation more than 50% received job offers.
Hired within 3 months *
Received job offers before graduation *
As one of the initial members of the Global IoT Team at Ingram Micro that heads Ingram Micro’s localized IoT teams around the world, I am at present involved in developing one of a kind marketplace for selling IoT solutions, kits and components (Sensors, Gateways, Connectivity, Cloud) for Ingram Micro which is the largest distributor of technology products in the world, hence in the best position to do so.
I am also involved in engineering curated, repeatable, vertical IoT solutions as proof of concepts for Ingram Micro’s own brand of IoT solutions in verticals like Fleet management, Retail, Environmental, Smart Building, Healthcare, Logistics.
The MECPS degree at UC Irvine has been the wind beneath my wings (just to put it in a sentence). It gave me the domain knowledge about Cyber Physical Systems popularly called IoT (Internet of Things) these days and the right skills through a well thought out custom made program structure that gave me the best of both worlds – Hardware and Software. It also gave me the opportunity to apply all the skills gathered through the course of the program, in a capstone project.
My job is very data driven, and fortunately, I tried my hand at data analysis and processing during my capstone project. My understanding of how sensors work and how data is collected from one of the MECPS courses also has helped me a lot in identifying the sources of error in my data. The expedited timeline of the course also helped me get used to working in a job with multiple deadlines.
If you have a great interest in the embedded system, I believe that MECPS is a very good choice. The whole learning process will not only help you to understand the embedded system but also provide long-term support for your future work and study. Because of MECPS, which provides me with a solid theoretical foundation and programming skills, I am able to keep confident during my job search and finally get my favorite offer.
The Embedded and Cyber-Physical Master Program is a great choice for anyone with limited experience in computer science and engineering. The hands-on projects provide practical skills that are invaluable for success in this field. The knowledgeable faculty and industry connections make it an excellent choice for career advancement in this field. Overall, this program has been exceptional and prepared me well for a career in this exciting and rapidly growing field.
Get started with your new career!
A focus of this program is to provide information, skills, and tools needed for students to land an exciting job in the domain of cyber-physical systems. The Associate Director of Career Services for MECPS provides workshops and advising on topics such as: resumes and cover letters, networking, job search, interviewing, negotiation, and helps identify and develop soft skills employers are looking for. Throughout the program you will receive access to company site visits, employer info sessions, and gather insight from industry professionals. The Division of Career Pathways provides additional career resources for the entire UCI community.
Watch someone talk about careers.