Chakrabortty Receives NSF Funding for Cyber-Physical Systems

August 27, 2013

Dr. Aranya Chakrabortty 
Dr. Aranya Chakrabortty

Dr. Aranya Chakrabortty, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has received a $400,000 research award from the National Science Foundation to develop distributed estimation and control algorithms for cyber-physical systems with a particular focus on large power systems. Dr. Frank Mueller, Professor of Computer Science department will serve as the co-principal investigator of this 3-year project. The title of the project is:
CPS Synergy: Collaborative Research: Distributed Asynchronous Algorithms and Software Systems for Wide-Area Monitoring of Power Systems
The project is a collaborative effort between NC State University, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at UNC Chapel Hill.  The objective is to develop a distributed algorithmic framework, supported by a highly fault-tolerant software system, for executing critical monitoring and control operations for the North American power grid using gigantic volumes of real-time sensor data. These sensors are commonly referred to as Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs), and their measurements are known as Synchrophasors. Currently the communication and information processing architecture for Synchrophasors-driven monitoring and control are highly centralized, with majority of these algorithms running only in offline. However, as the number of PMUs in the North American grid increases to more than thousands in the next 2-3 years, such centralized monitoring and control will no longer be sustainable under such data-explosion, and a completely distributed cyber-physical architecture will need to be developed. The primary task of this project, therefore, will be to develop parallel computational methods for monitoring power flow oscillations following critical disturbances in any power system, together with an analytical investigation of their stability, convergence and robustness properties. Once developed, these distributed algorithms will also be implemented using Software Defined Networks (SDN) and tested for cyber-security using the recently developed BEN-WAMS testbed at Chakrabortty's lab in the FREEDM Systems Center at NC State. In particular, three important applications will be studied for parallel or distributed implementation - namely, wide-area oscillation monitoring, transient stability assessment, and voltage stability monitoring.
"The highly inter-disciplinary skill sets of the five investigators of this project are tailor-made for this topic," Chakrabortty said. "For example, at NC State my group will develop the theoretical algorithms for power system monitoring and control using distributed optimization, while Dr. Mueller and his students from Computer Science will develop the middleware for implementing these algorithms via Software Defined Networks. Our partners from UIUC, Dr. Rakesh Bobba and Dr. Nitin Vaidya, will study the cyber-security and fault-tolerance of these algorithms. Our colleague Yufeng Xin from RENCI will help us in experimental validations using the BEN-WAMS testbed. All of us are very excited about this CPS project."
Preliminary work on this topic has been reported in several papers co-authored by Chakrabortty and Xin this year, including a paper on decentralized power system modeling in the 2012 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, as well as a software at the recent US-Ignite event in Chicago, for which they won the "Best Mobile App for Energy Systems" award.