Visible to the public Science of Secure and Resilient Cyber-Physical Systems

SoS Newsletter- Advanced Book Block

Secure and Resilient CPS

Xenofon Koutsoukos, Vanderbilt University

Network and systems resilience is a critical element in maintaining functionality after an attack. Professor Kousoukos presented on a new initiative separate from the Lablets, but on the related areas of resiliency and security. System Science of SecUrity and REsilience for Cyber-Physical Systems (SURE) is a collaboration among MIT, Hawai'I, California-Berkeley, and Vanderbilt to improve scientific understanding of resiliency, described as having the attributes of functional correctness by design, robustness to reliability failures or faults, and survivability against security failures and attacks. Water distribution and traffic control architectures were offered as examples of the types of cyber physical systems to be examined.

The research problems and questions SURE will address include risk analysis and incentive design, resilient monitoring and control, decentralized security, integrative research and evaluation, and formal reasoning about security in cyber-physical systems. Some of the research questions SURE will address include:

  • How can the collection of agents in CPS deal with strategic adversaries?
  • How can strategic agents contribute to CPS efficiency and safety, while protecting their conflicting individual objectives?
  • What are the control architectures that can improve resilience against intrusions and faults?
  • What types of dynamics can provide inherent robustness against impacts of faults and cyber-attacks?
  • What are the physics-based invariants that can be used as "ground truth" in intrusion detection?
  • How can we design systems that are resilient even when there is significant decentralization of resources and decisions?
  • How do we formally and practically reason about secure computation and communication?
  • How do we integrate and evaluate cyber & physical platforms and resilient monitoring & control architectures?
  • How do we interface and support human decision makers?

The research challenges facing the team include such problems as spatio-temporal dynamics, multiple strategic interactions with network interdependencies, inherent uncertainties in both public & private systems, and tightly coupled control and economic incentives.

In addition to Professor Koutsoukos as PI, the SURE research team includes Saurabh Amin (MIT), Anthony Joseph (UC Berkeley), Gabor Karsai (Vanderbilt), Dusko Pavlovic (U. of Hawaii), Larry Rohrbough (UC Berkeley), S. Shankar Sastry (UC Berkeley), Janos Sztipanovits (Vanderbilt), Claire Tomlin (Vanderbilt), Peter Volgyesi (Vanderbilt) Yevgeniy Vorobeychik (Vanderbilt), and Katie Dey (Vanderbilt) - Outreach.

For more information about Professor Koutsoukos, go to:

For more information about SURE, go to:



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