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The Foundations of Computer-Aided Process Operations (FOCAPO) and Chemical Process Control (CPC) have been the premier conferences in their respective areas of process operations and process control. Recognizing that, particularly from an industrial perspective, these areas have a tremendous overlap and synergy, the motivation of holding joint FOCAPO/CPC meetings has been to bring the process operations and process control research and practitioner communities together, thereby fostering interesting interactions and collaborations. FOCAPO/CPC 2023 aims to further strengthen collaboration between the communities.
The world is facing pressing challenges such as the need to promote and support human and ecosystem health, enable sustainable use of food, water, energy and other strategic resources, prevent and mitigate the impacts of climate change, and make effective and ethical use of data and automation. Process systems engineering (PSE) plays a key role in developing necessary frameworks, knowledge, and tools to tackle these challenges. A more holistic and synergistic view of humans, systems, the environment, and data is needed, and forming this perspective is the overarching theme of FOCAPO/CPC 2023.
Participants from industry, government, and academia are invited to share their views and constructively debate how academic research and industrial development can be synergized to tackle pressing challenges. Complementing keynote addresses and invited presentations from leaders in the field, contributions will be reviewed for poster presentations, and will form the core of the conference.
To guide the thinking of the PSE community and to ignite the imagination of the participants, FOCAPO/CPC is organized around the following grand challenges:
Digitalization - Digitalization is transforming the enterprise landscape with smarter connected devices and predictive models available at all levels of operation (e.g., control, planning, scheduling, supply chains). New and complex sources of data are also becoming available and should be used efficiently. Computation and automated decision-making are becoming increasingly distributed and decentralized, and cyber security is an ever present threat. What new capabilities can and should the PSE community develop in this new environment?
Sustainability and Globalization - New technologies are needed to ensure that enterprises can cope with growing global population and economic and environmental issues that transcend traditional geographic and political borders. Closing the loop on a more circular economy and responding to planetary-level events that span multiple spatial and temporal scales (e.g., climate change, infrastructure failures, and pandemics) requires a paradigm shift in sensing, data collection, information processing and decision making. What new technologies are needed to tackle these issues?
Innovation Speed - To tackle the grand challenges faced by society, we require faster pipelines that help transfer scientific ideas and breakthroughs to technologies and to commercial products. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen how much vaccine development speed could be accelerated by using modern tools and processes. It is essential that universities, research laboratories, government, and industry come together to ensure that the most important steps towards a better world can be taken as fast as possible. How can PSE be faster in helping innovations be productized? How can PSE aid discovery and improve collaborations across disciplines (e.g., health, materials, biotechnology, catalysis, energy)?
PSE in 2050 - PSE is an inherently dynamic field and its success lies in learning from the past to predict and shape the future. What are the next grand challenges that PSE should prepare for? How will the PSE community interact with fast-growing disciplines such as data science and machine learning? What unique contributions will the PSE community make? What is the importance of domain-specific knowledge and understanding physical phenomena in a data-driven world? How should the PSE community train the workforce of the future?
FOCAPO/CPC 2023 aims to address these grand challenges by focusing on the following cross-cutting topics (in addition to the more traditional topics in controls and operations):
Safety and Security - There is a pressing need for new modeling and decision-making technologies that can address emerging safety and security threats (e.g., extreme weather, cybersecurity). Such technologies need to integrate emerging data sources, carefully manage alarm systems, and will need to handle a wide range of possible events in order to ensure high levels of resilience and reliability.
Data-Driven Techniques - New modeling and decision-making systems for control and operations will require the development of control and optimization architectures that integrate advances in data science, machine learning, network science, and automation. These systems will also need to use heterogeneous sources of data (e.g., computer vision, text) in order to handle risk and uncertainty and will need to accommodate physical and data-driven knowledge.
Implementation - New open-source hardware and software platforms are needed to accelerate the development and deployment of decision-making systems and to facilitate collaboration. Such platforms will enable more agile, robust, and scalable controls and operations and will facilitate transferring of high-fidelity models (e.g., digital twins) to online settings. Emerging computing hardware (e.g., edge computing, quantum computing) are also opening new opportunities to develop scalable solutions.
Multiscale Integration - New paradigms are needed to integrate decision-making that occurs at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Such systems are essential, for instance, in coordinating manufacturing, supply chains, and infrastructures. New methodologies are also needed to transfer knowledge across scales.