Next generation smart manufacturing systems will be characterized by extremely high levels of instrumentation, interconnection and pervasive intelligence - they will be more and more categorized as "Systems of Systems". Hence, the perfect manufacturing plant of the future will be possible and feasible thanks to pervasive ICT sciences such as distributed optimisation, intelligent sensing, monitoring and control as key enabling technologies.

Efficiency in manufacturing is also being achieved by the optimisation of design and operation while taking account of system uncertainties. The whole manufacturing chain, from sourcing of materials to service in support of new product/process/service design and upgrades, can be modelled by taking account of system structure.

The Departments of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Computing and Chemical Engineering, working in close cooperation with partners from industry, are addressing these challenges through the underpinning ICT theme.