Keywords: future SCADA, SCADA challenges, critical infrastructures, critical information systems, agent–based systems, agent–based SCADA, multi–agent systems, MAS, smart grids, supervisory control, data acquisition, software engineering
Future SCADA challenges and the promising solution: the agent–based SCADA
SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition; it is a computer system for gathering, analysing and monitoring real time data. SCADA systems are used to monitor and control plants or equipments in a variety of modern industries. SCADA is a critical information system; its criticality comes from the fact that SCADA systems are currently vital components of most nations' critical infrastructures; also failure in SCADA systems may result in catastrophic consequences. SCADA as a critical information system faces the same challenges of current and future information systems such as dynamicity and openness of working environments, efficiency, complexity, and reliability, etc. In this paper, we identify and analyse future SCADA challenges and match it to multi–agent systems as a new software engineering architectural style which will provide SCADA with the abilities and tools to survive in dynamic and open environments and will improve SCADA quality attributes which are the main SCADA challenges. This paper can be considered as a white paper helping readers (SCADA designers and developers) to make a decision about using the agent–based approach for developing future SCADA architectures or continue using traditional software engineering paradigms.