• Code CECS6002
  • Unit Value 6 to 12 units
  • Offered by Institute of Autonomy, Agency and Assurance
  • ANU College ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject CECS Experimental, Interdisciplinary
  • Areas of interest Engineering, Ethics, Intelligent Systems, Algorithms and Data, Artifical Intelligence
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Ellen Broad
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

In this course, we will build on the conceptual approach to the new branch of engineering developed in CECS 6001. Students will investigate and apply the 6 vectors for interrogation of cyber-physical systems (CPSs) included in the 3AI framework to case studies from industry, academia, government and other civil society organisations. 

Through the course, we will challenge students to study and analyze various examples of CPSs, employing systems analysis and complementary methodologies to explore concepts of safety, sustainability and scale.  

By the end of the course, students will be able to critically explore the ways CPSs are planned, designed, built, operated, maintained and regulated, as well as assess how CPSs link to and affect other systems, both physical and non-physical. Students will be able to identify mechanisms that restrict, shape and support CPS systems being deployed at scale. The course serves as a foundation for applying the new branch of engineering’s approach to cyber-physical systems analysis in Capstone projects. Through this course, students will be prepared to apply a series of techniques and concepts in future workplaces to responsibly, safely, and sustainably scale current and future CPSs.   

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate conceptual understanding of cyber-physical systems and emerging abstractions for explaining and interrogating such systems, including through the concepts of Automation, Agency, Assurance, Interfaces, Indicators and Intents.
  2. Develop and fluently apply relevant assessment, evaluation and decision making tools and techniques relevant to managing cyber-physical systems at scale and communicate these to others.
  3. Identify and critically appraise new developments, advances and emerging knowledge within domains relevant to the new branch of engineering.
  4. Demonstrate ability to frame critical and constructive questions and appropriately apply existing and emerging methodologies to describe and explain the design, construction, commissioning, management and decommissioning of cyber-physical systems using the abstractions in the 3AI framework.
  5. Demonstrates an appreciation of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice and how they are enacted and contested for a cyber-physical system.
  6. Demonstrate ethical, respectful, and professional conduct, and contribute positively to the Institute community.
  7. Synthesise a wide range of data sources and inputs, and generate and communicate complex outcomes of cyber-physical research in relevant formats for diverse audiences including case study partner organisations.
  8. Demonstrate a creative, innovative, and pro-active approach in efforts to explore and analyse cyber-physical systems with the goal to further develop and improve the core concepts and methodologies associated with the new branch of engineering.
  9. Fluently apply teamwork and project management skills to enable a collaborative project with peers who have a variety of skills, knowledge and viewpoints, leading to the creation of an in-depth analysis of a cyber-physical system.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Cyber Physical Systems group research project (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9]
  2. Applied Cybernetics Methodology Essay (35) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9]
  3. Participation in Methodologies Practice (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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The quantum of work through the semester will be approximately 130 hours per 6 units of course. This will include a mixture of workshops and group work, as well as independent reading, viewing, listening and study. They will also participate in whole-of-Institute activities.

Inherent Requirements

Information on inherent requirements for this course is currently not available.

Requisite and Incompatibility

This course is only available to selected students in 2019. Students will need to contact CECS Student services to request a permission code to enrol. Selection for 2019 is made through a competitive and transparent process, documented in the application pack available at https://3ainstitute.cecs.anu.edu.au/

You will need to contact the Institute of Autonomy, Agency and Assurance to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

Resource lists for this course range from book chapters and journal articles on core theoretical concepts and research methods drawn from a range of research traditions, to think tank and industry white papers and case studies, to media stories and podcasts of relevance to the course content for a given topic. Participants will also be encouraged to continue to draw on materials and tools from CECS6001 and CECS8001.

Students are expected to engage with all the resources assigned; this will be included in weekly tutorial grading.

Here is an indicative selection from across the course.

  • Andrews, Zoe, Fitzgerald, John, Payne, Richard and Alexander Romanovsky (2013) Fault Modeling for Systems of Systems in 2013 IEEE Eleventh International Symposium on Autonomous Decentralized Systems (ISADS), pp. 108 IEEE.
  • Beamon, Benita M (1998) Supply Chain design and analysis: models and methods. International Journal of Production Economics 55, no 3: 281:294
  • Friedman, Batya, and Peter H. Kahn. “Human Agency and Responsible Computing: Implications for Computer System Design.” Journal of System Software 17, no. 1 (January 1992): 7–14. https://doi.org/10.1016/0164-1212(92)90075-U.
  • Midgley, Gerald. 2000, Systemic intervention : philosophy, methodology, and practice / Gerald Midgley Kluwer Academic/Plenum New York
  • Meadows, Donella H., and Diana Wright. 2015. Thinking in systems: a primer.
  • Miller, T. Christian, Megan Rose, Robert Faturechi, and Agnes Chang. “The Navy Installed Touch-Screen Steering Systems To Save Money. Ten Sailors Paid With Their Lives.” ProPublica, December 20, 2019. https://features.propublica.org/navy-uss-mccain-crash/navy-installed-touch-screen-steering-ten-sailors-paid-with-their-lives/.
  • Vespignani, Alessandro (2010). Complex networks: The fragility of interdependency. Nature 464, no.7291: 984.
  • de Visser, Ewart J., Richard Pak, and Tyler H. Shaw. (2018) "From ‘automation’ to ‘autonomy’: the importance of trust repair in human–machine interaction." Ergono

Assumed Knowledge

The assumed knowledge and requirements to take this course will be documented in the application pack available at https://3ainstitute.cecs.anu.edu.au/


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 to 12 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
7.00 0.14583
8.00 0.16667
9.00 0.18750
10.00 0.20833
11.00 0.22917
12.00 0.25000
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $72 per unit
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $96 per unit
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9575 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person N/A

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