Cyber-Physical Systems

2023 ~ Present | Institute for Cybersecurity and Resilient Infrastructure Studies (ICARIS) | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)


Cyber-physical systems (CPSs) integrate computational components with physical processes, e.g., robotics, automobiles, factories. Students in this course will learn CPS concepts such as design fundamentals through hands-on development and verification, as well as red-teaming for vulnerability discovery and mitigation. Students will address issues involving design complexity, security, and safety of these systems through the application of novel embedded development techniques, languages, and formal methods. Students will learn with ground-based robots and industrial control systems.

Issues Involved or Addressed

Cyber-physical systems are pervasive, with embedded systems now responsible for running many aspects of critical infrastructure and services. Examples of cutting-edge innovations in the CPS space range from medical devices, to transportation, and home and industrial robots. Power grids, utilities, global transportation, and healthcare systems all rely on embedded CPSs for cybersecurity, availability, and efficiency. Unintended or malicious outages in these areas can cause devastating human, environmental, and financial tolls. CPSs offer unique technical challenges due to their integration with a physical environment and their prevalence as networked, low SWaP edge nodes. As CPSs are continually integrated into networks and gain increasing local autonomy over complex dynamics, their susceptibility to undesired access and manipulation increases. Students will study a variety of correct-by-construction tools for embedded CPSs, such as Rust, contract based formal methods, temporal logic decomposition, and runtime assurance monitors. Red teams will analyze design choices to find errant assumptions in correct-by-construction models to find vulnerabilities and create stronger design practices. This course applies these tools to CPS such as heterogeneous ground-based robots, distributed energy resources, and industrial control system PLCs.

Methods and Technologies

  • Embedded Systems Hardware and Software Development
  • Dynamical Systems and Controls
  • Design Verification
  • Cybersecurity
  • Hardware/software reverse engineering and vulnerability assessment
  • Network protocol capture/dissection

Academic Majors of Interest

  • ComputingComputer Science
  • ComputingCybersecurity
  • EngineeringCivil Engineering
  • EngineeringComputer Engineering
  • EngineeringElectrical Engineering
  • EngineeringMechanical Engineering
  • EngineeringRobotics

Preferred Interests and Preparation

Familiarity with embedded hardware or software design A background interest in control-theory Familiarity with cybersecurity principles Facility with Python or similar common programming language

Meeting Schedule & Location

Meeting Location 
Klaus 1440
Meeting Day 

Team Advisors

William Stuckey
  • Georgia Tech Research Institute
Samuel Litchfield
  • Georgia Tech Research Institute
Dr. Lee Lerner
  • Georgia Tech Research Institute
Dr. David Manz

Partner(s) and Sponsor(s)

Institute for Cybersecurity and Resilient Infrastructure Studies (ICARIS) | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

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