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The project on the System Science of SecUrity and REsilience for cyber-physical systems  (SURE) will develop foundations and tools for designing, building, and assuring cyber-physical systems (CPS) that can maintain essential system properties in the presence of adversaries. The technology base of SURE will provide CPS designers and operators with models, methods, and tools that can be integrated with an end-to-end model-based design flow and tool chain.

To date, security and resilience have been considered as largely disjoint (frequently even totally missing) aspects of CPS design. This separation was natural due to the traditionally segmented nature of design flows along isolated aspects of physical and cyber (software and computing) design. However, modern CPS does not permit such separation anymore due to advances and integration in wireless sensor-actuator networks, the internet of “everything”, data-driven analytics, and machine-to-machine interfaces. These developments have given CPS the ability to inter-operate and adapt to open dynamic environments, and enabled new trends: (1) Faster operational time-scales; (2) Greater spatial interconnectedness; (3) Larger number of mixed initiative interactions; and (4) Increased heterogeneity of components. These trends are forcing increasingly physical and cyber sides of systems to be tightly coupled. The failure of loosely coupled physical and cyber schemes is evident in chronically unresolved design conflicts between performance and resilience against faults and intrusions, and conflicts between needs for performance optimization while maintaining robustness against adversarial impacts. 

Networked CPS can be designed using a hierarchical coordination and control architecture that ensures resilient distributed dynamics. Resilient dynamics generalize functional performance by augmenting design concerns to attain robustness against faults and cyber attacks. The effects of failures and intrusions are usually modeled as uncertainties and casted as adversarial games. One of the key innovations is the introduction of a novel layer in the hierarchical coordination control architecture that is designed for interaction with the human operators using risk analysis and incentive-based approaches. The role of the risk analysis and incentive design is to support distributed decision making for balancing performance and security risks. The theoretical foundations for this innovation lie on dynamic games. The expected benefit of this framework is its potential of helping the convergence of individual decisions toward optimizing mission success.

As integral part of the proposed research program, we will launch a sustained effort to create a new generation of engineers that are comfortable with understanding, exploiting and managing security and resilience in the context of integrated computational, physical phenomena interacting with human designers and operators.

Research Thrusts

  1. Hierarchical Coordination and Control which is organized further into:
    1. Cyber risk analysis and incentive design that aim at developing regulations and strategies at the management level.
    2. Resilient monitoring and control of the networked control system infrastructure
  2. Science of decentralized security which aims to develop a framework that will enable reasoning about the security of all the integrated constituent CPS components.
  3. Reliable and practical reasoning about secure computation and communication in networks which aims to contribute a formal framework for reasoning about security in CPS.
  4. Evaluation and experimentation using modeling and simulation integration of cyber and physical platforms that directly interface with human decision.
  5. Education and Outreach component that aims at education the next generation of researchers in the field of security and resilience of CPS.