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Uplink: A Newsletter for the Faculty, Staff, and Students of the Coordinated Science Laboratory

October 27, 2014


New paradigm enables more secure, reliable control networks for power grid

When an energy company sustains a cyber attack, control system operators must quickly identify, isolate and reroute around the affected network areas in order to maintain critical energy delivery functions. A global view of all communication flows would make that task much easier, but unfortunately, such an overview map isn’t available to the energy sector at this time.

However, Illinois researchers Rakesh Bobba (now at Oregon State), William H. SandersDavid Nicol and Roy Campbell, along with their collaborators at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), Ameren Corporation and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), are working to solve that problem through a $4.9 million software-defined networking (SDN) project funded by the Department of Energy and led by SEL. The team is developing a flow controller—including both a hardware device and supporting software—that will monitor, configure and maintain safe, reliable network traffic flows in energy system control networks.

Taxi GPS data helps researchers study Hurricane Sandy's effect on NYC traffic

When Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast in late October 2012, the “superstorm” disrupted traffic in New York City for more than five days, but the evacuation proceeded relatively efficiently with only minor delays, according to transportation researchers at the University of Illinois. The largest Atlantic hurricane on record, Sandy offered a chance for Illinois researchers to try out a new computational method they developed that promises to help municipalities quantify the resilience of their transportation systems to extreme events using only GPS data from taxis.

Dan Work, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and CSL professor, and Brian Donovan, a graduate student in CEE’s Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Systems program, analyzed GPS data from nearly 700 million taxi trips—representing four years of taxi travel in New York City—to determine the city’s normal traffic pattern and study the variations during extreme events like the hurricane and snowstorms. 

Hutchinson and Engineering at Illinois collaborators awarded $1.5 million to build robot bats

What started as casual robotics conversations between engineering professors has resulted in a $1.5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to build mechanical bats for construction sites. CSL Professor Seth Hutchinson has teamed with CSL and Aerospace Engineering Assistant Professor Soon-Jo Chung, CSL and Aerospace Associate Professor Timothy Bretl, and Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Mani Golparvar-Fard to develop this project with the goal of building a robot with the characteristics of a bat that would be able to supervise construction sites.

Around CSL

  • CSL Social Hours are back on Fridays! Faculty, staff and students are welcome to join us for refreshments and to learn about the research going on around CSL. Check socialhour.csl.illinois.edu for more information and weekly speakers. 

New Gifts/Grants

  • Shobha Vasudevan, "Automated Test Generation for Mixed-Signal Test and Debug," 3 years, $40,000, Intel.

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