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Task-oriented Communication System Design in Cyber-Physical Systems: A Survey on Theory and Applications

by   Arsham Mostaani, et al.

Communications system design has been traditionally guided by task-agnostic principles, which aim at efficiently transmitting as many correct bits as possible through a given channel. However, in the era of cyber-physical systems, the effectiveness of communications is not dictated simply by the bit rate, but most importantly by the efficient completion of the task in hand, e.g., controlling remotely a robot, automating a production line or collaboratively sensing through a drone swarm. In parallel, it is projected that by 2023, half of the worldwide network connections will be among machines rather than humans. In this context, it is crucial to establish a new paradigm for designing communications strategies for multi-agent cyber-physical systems. This is a daunting task, since it requires a combination of principles from information, communication, control theories and computer science in order to formalize a general framework for task-oriented communication design. In this direction, this paper reviews and structures the relevant theoretical work across a wide range of scientific communities. Subsequently, it proposes a general conceptual framework for task-oriented communication design, along with its specializations according to the targeted use case. Furthermore, it provides a survey of relevant contributions in dominant applications, such as industrial internet of things, multi-UAV systems, tactile internet, autonomous vehicles, distributed learning systems, internet of skills, smart manufacturing plants and 5G and beyond self-organizing networks. Finally, it highlights the most important open research topics from both the theoretical framework and application points of view.


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