Begin with the human: Designing for safety and trustworthiness in cyber-physical systems

Cyber-physical systems are interacting arrangements of objects, digital information-processing systems, humans and environments. The increasingly ubiquitous use of artificial intelligence in such systems presents a simultaneous opportunity and challenge.

How will we build for a future in which complex technological systems capable of learning, evolving, and acting without explicit human direction are increasingly prevalent in our lives? And what questions should those involved in creating these systems be asking throughout the design process?

In this talk, Dr Liz Williams will use the Three Mile Island accident to illustrate how lessons from history can help us chart a path towards designing cyber-physical systems that scale safely. She will present an analytical framework the 3A Institute is developing as part of its mission to create a new applied science around the design, creation, management, and governance of cyber-physical systems.

There will be a light lunch provided, so please register for catering purposes. 



Dr Elizabeth Williams is a Research Fellow at the 3A Institute at Australian National University (ANU). She completed her PhD in experimental nuclear structure at Yale University in December 2009, did postdoctoral work in fundamental and applied nuclear physics at Yale and CSIRO, and joined the ANU in 2012, where she held an ARC DECRA fellowship. She has created and used cyber-physical systems to carry out her research in nuclear science, and has always had a fascination with how complex systems come together in a human context.  Her passion for research impact and the responsibilities that researchers have to imagine the context in which their research will be used led her to the 3A Institute, where she is currently working on creating a new applied science in the management of data, artificial intelligence, and cyber-physical systems.

She is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the ANU Department of Nuclear Physics.

Date & time

12–1pm 26 Jun 2019


Room:Seminar Room 1.33

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