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New engineering center to develop scientific and engineering principles of resilient systems

New engineering center to develop scientific and engineering principles of resilient systems

West Lafayette, Ind. — What causes some systems — computing, cyber physical, or large-scale engineered systems — to be resilient to disruptions of various kinds? And what causes some systems to bounce back from a failure quickly?

A new Purdue University College of Engineering center has been unveiled to seek the foundational design principles that underlie resilient systems. The Center for Resilient Infrastructures, Systems and Processes (CRISP) was officially started in October 2017 and ran its first seed grant competition for research proposals this summer.

The center involves faculty members in leadership roles from multiple engineering departments, including director Saurabh Bagchi, a professor of electrical and computer engineering; associate directors Jitesh Panchal, a professor of mechanical engineering, and Milind Kulkarni, a professor of electrical and computer engineering. Three thrust leads positions, including Gesualdo Scutari, a professor of industrial engineering, on optimization; Felix Lin, a professor of electrical and computer engineering on cyber-physical systems; and Srinivas Peeta, a professor of civil engineering on large-scale civil infrastructures.

Society is crucially dependent on several interdependent critical infrastructure systems and processes for operating these systems. These are subjected to various kinds of hazards and faults, both natural and malicious, often leading to user-visible failures. The CRISP center will provide scientific methods to analyze the failure modes of the infrastructures and provide engineering tools to systematically build in resilience. Initial focus areas will be resilient and adaptive cyberinfrastructures, resilient cyber-physical systems, and scientific foundations of resilient socio-technical systems. The researchers will develop techniques that apply broadly across multiple domains to complement existing domain-specific techniques.

“We know several design principles that enhance resilience, such as, composability and decoupling,” Bagchi said. “We need to develop the scientific discipline of resilience as it applies to cyber, cyber physical, and socio-technical systems. Our center by bringing together the leadership team and approximately 20 affiliate faculty members is uniquely positioned to address the end-to-end resilience challenges. Such challenges are becoming more pressing as our society depends more heavily on these large-scale engineered systems.”

Kulkarni, who will lead that thematic area of resilient cyber systems, stressed on the need to build adaptable software systems, such that they can adapt to new hardware platforms, including mobile platforms and large volumes of data.

“To complement the scientific principles, we have to develop practical techniques to make an existing system resilient to certain vulnerabilities, without significantly compromising the performance and the functionality of the system,” Kulkarni said.

The result of CRISP’s activities would be a building code for designing resilient systems, a task-oriented checklist for engineering resilient systems, and a wind tunnel for verifying that the system meets its resiliency and functional goals.

“How do we enable engineering enterprises to use a significant but underutilized mode of innovation by communities of employees within organizations, and of enthusiasts outside the organizations,” Panchal said. “Through our efforts, we are establishing foundational techniques for modeling and analyzing the evolutionary dynamics of complex networked systems, such as digital distributed manufacturing and road transportation.”

A workshop is scheduled to be held in the fall on the Purdue campus with a set of distinguished as well as promising young researchers from academia and industry. There will be several opportunities through panels and poster sessions for the Purdue community to participate in the workshop.

The center is currently funded by Purdue and existing contracts in the labs of the leadership team members broadly focused on the topic of resilience.

Further details can be found from the CRISP website at www.purdue.edu/crisp/.