Research Platform: HEPHAISTOS

Figure 1: The computer workstations.

Figure 2: A close-up of the worstation.

The CEL has acquired a process control simulator, HEPHAISTOS (7-node Human Automation Interaction SimulaTOrS), for research in the areas of advanced automation and operator support tools. The simulator infrastructure is co-located at the University of Toronto and Lambton College in Sarnia, Ontario, and is linked by the high-speed ORION research network. Students from Lambton College’s Chemical Production Engineering Technology (CPET) and Instrumentation and Control Engineering (ICET) programs will participate in research studies.

The first process model to be used in this simulator is of a petrochemical plant unit incorporating approximately 1000 input/output channels. Two interfaces for the simulation are available: conventional mimic style, and Advanced Process Graphics (APG) by Acuite. The moderate engineering and physical fidelity make the simulator an engaging challenge for participants while keeping the cost of scenario development and experimental interventions low. Multiple workstations allow operator teams to be studied, and incorporation of physical instrumentation allows field technician interactions to be manipulated. The experience and aptitude of upper-year CPET and ICET trainees is essential to making such a complex simulation environment tractable.

CEL is actively seeking research partnerships for use of this simulation infrastructure. More information can be found in the Proposed Research Initiative white paper.

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