Undergrad Research Project - Development of Unified Framework for Cyber Physical Systems

Spring 2013

Arushi Chawla
Gabriela Hug
Project description

Abstract The focus of this research project is the development of a unified framework that can be used to universally monitor and control the information flow within Cyber Physical Systems. Simply put, a cyber-physical system or CPS, is an integration of computation, networking and physical processes associated with a system. Examples of CPS's include transportation networks, distributed robotics, etc. For the purpose of this research, the focus would be on the electric power systems as well as the water supply systems of North America. Over the years, communication and information technologies have taken an increasingly important role in monitoring and controlling such systems. While individual CPS's are being studied extensively, there is a need to have a unified framework that can be applied universally to a variety of CPS's to model interactions between the cyber and the physical layers of a system, formulate interference and control strategies and guarantee secure information flow within a network. Returning to the systems under consideration, it is crucial to mention that the power systems of the future will integrate distributed and flexible loads and demands. The deployment and integration of information and communication is considered to be a key component that enables distributed management and monitoring, i.e., the Smart Grid. Similarly, a unified network needs to be employed to address the issues faced by the water supply systems. For example, as of today, the drinking water infrastructure of North America is facing multiple problems across the spectrum of management, engineering, security, policy and finance. Cyber-infrastructure systems offer the potential to improve these management decisions, increase performance levels, reduce costs and enhance security. The first step towards designing such a unified framework is to determine whether it is possible to draw analogies among multiple physical systems, and if so, then what kind of common modeling framework can be universally applied to the said physical systems. These are the underlying questions which this research project hopes to address. The goal of my research would be to highlight the common properties between the electric power systems and water supply systems in North America, and then develop a framework that can be applied to both of them in order to ensure better performance.

Research Questions The main questions which this project seeks to answer are: 1. What are the main properties in the electric power systems and water supply systems in North America and how can analogies between these properties be drawn? 2. What are the common parameters, i.e., analogous inputs and outputs of the systems that can be used for developing the unified framework and what are the equations relating the inputs to the outputs?

  1. Can we transform the models for both of these systems into a common modeling framework? If so, then what will that framework look like?

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