Vet-Trend Project

Development of a transnational experiment-based learning environment within the Leonardo da Vinci programme

The Leonardo da Vinci programme supports Community actions in the field of vocational training. Together with partners from Romania, Sweden, Portugal, Italy, Greece the operating systems and middleware group at Hasso Plattner Institute is working in the "Valorisation of an Experiment-based Training System through a Transnational Educational Network Development" (Vet-Trend) project. Within the project, a transnational network in the domain of virtual and remote experiments for e-learning will be created. As a result experiment installations at Hasso Plattner Institute will be available to our partners all over Europe. Together with lectures on embedded systems programming students can use these experiments to improve their programming skills.

Since 2001, the operating system and middleware group at Hasso Plattner Instiute operates the Distributed Control Lab (DCL). DCL is a remote laboratory that provides an open infrastructure for conducting robotics and real-time control experiments from the Web. Experiments within DCL have successfully been integrated into several courses at Hasso Plattner Institute, thus allowing us building up experience in daily operation of the lab. Research of our group primarily focuses of the extension of middleware to embedded devices and the predictable execution of real-time control experiments. Various publications in the proceedings of international conferences and workshops have reported about our research findings and demonstrated expertise in operating a remote laboratory infrastructure.
In 2006 a 6-months Bachelor's project in the context of the Vet-Trend project has been started. Within the Bachelor project 5 students are developing a reliable and adaptive execution platform for distributed experiment execution. In 2003, we have supervised and managed a Bachelor's project (Eduxon) on the Distributed Control Lab infrastructure as part of the Software Engineering curriculum at HPI. For Eduxon, we have partnered with Prof. Attardi's group at University Pisa, Italy. Eduxon has been partially supported by a research grant from Microsoft Research.

The VET-TREND project is two-fold in that it aims at development and implementation of a distributed laboratory infrastructure as well as on creation of training and teaching activities on the basis of the lab infrastructure. The operating systems and middlware group at Hasso Plattner Institute will participate in the activities for integrating multiple existing lab setups into a trans-national distributed lab infrastructure. This will involve realization and experimental evaluation of predictable multi-way communication among project partners and will ultimately allow conducting distributed multi-way experiments, which are carried out at multiple partners' sites simultaneously. We will work with project partners in order to open up our existing DCL experiments for that kind of scenarios. Additionally, we plan to develop metadata and interface descriptions to support integration of experiments into bigger e-Learning arrangements.