Visible to the public SURE Meets, Reports on 2015 Work on ResiliencyConflict Detection Enabled

SoS Newsletter- Advanced Book Block


SoS Logo

SURE Meets

Reports on 2015 Work on Resiliency

Arlington, VA
18 November 2015

On November 18, 2015, researchers from the four System Science of SecUrity and REsilience for Cyber-Physical Systems (SURE) project universities (Vanderbilt, Hawai‘i, UC Berkeley, and MIT) met with members of NSA’s Trusted Research Directorate for an annual review. SURE is the NSA-funded project aimed at improving scientific understanding of resiliency in cyber-physical systems (CPS). The project addresses the question of how to design systems that are resilient despite significant decentralization of resources and decision-making. SURE has developed a testbed for evaluating and measuring resiliency through modeling.

Xenofon Introduction at SUREXenofon Koutsoukos, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Computer Science in the Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) at Vanderbilt University, the Principal Investigator (PI) for SURE, described the value of the testbed as a platform that allows integration of simulators for systems, such as transportation, water distribution, and communications networks, to develop metrics for resilience and to apply SURE methodologies to multiple systems. Main research thrusts are cyber risk analysis and incentive design, resilient monitoring and control, and science of decentralized security.

Originally a physical testbed, it now resides in the Cloud and can be used interactively among the participating research universities. Two demonstrations were presented. The first was decentralized security in adversarial settings. The second demonstrated the effects of tampering with traffic signal controls and the evaluation of vulnerability of transportation networks.

The overall utility of the testbed is to provide experimental validation of attack models. Some of the lessons learned to date include designing good experiments is hard, and there are many questions about that experimental design. The cloud deployment offers scalability. The current single virtual machine is 10-20 times faster than real time on the physical system they used previously. In the future, they hope to achieve distributed simulation using multiple virtual machines, build more tools for cloud deployment, and achieve system scale.

Five additional research projects on resiliency were presented. These covered both behavioral and technical subjects including the use of inversion to train robust machine learning models, reasoning about security in cyber-physical systems, resilience in the wake of disruptions, hierarchical control of incident management, and decentralized security in adversarial settings. Planned upgrades to the CPS-VO web site, its scope and format, were also briefed.  Details of these research presentations will be presented in a companion newsletter article.

VorobeychikIn addition to Professor Koutsoukos, participants included his Vanderbilt colleagues Himanshu Neema, William Emfinger, Janos Sztipanovits, Peter Volgyesi, and Yevgeniy Vorobeychik. Other participants were Lina Sela and Li Jin from MIT; Dusko Pavlovic and Nancy Mogire, U. of Hawai‘i; and Anthony Joseph from UC, Berkeley. Government representatives from the National Science Foundation, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Air Force Research Labs also attended, as well as the sponsoring agency, NSA.

(ID#: 15-7733)


Articles listed on these pages have been found on publicly available internet pages and are cited with links to those pages. Some of the information included herein has been reprinted with permission from the authors or data repositories. Direct any requests via Email to for removal of the links or modifications to specific citations. Please include the ID# of the specific citation in your correspondence.