EE/CPE Students and Faculty Win Best Paper Award for Power Grid Cybersecurity Research
A team of Cal Poly researchers won the Best Paper Award at the 10th Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT 2019), sponsored by the IEEE Power and Energy Society, held February 17-20 in Washington D.C. The paper titled, “Algorithmic Approaches to Characterizing Power Flow Cyber-Attack Vulnerabilities,” focused on characterizing inherent cyber-attack vulnerabilities with power flow, which is at the core of many critical power grid applications. The researchers proposed two algorithmic approaches for characterizing the vulnerability of buses within power grids to cyber-attacks. Specifically, they focused on measuring the instability of power flow to attacks which manifest as either voltage or power related errors. Their results show that attacks manifesting as voltage errors are an order of magnitude more likely to cause instability than attacks manifesting as power related errors (and 5x more likely for state estimation algorithms as compared to power flow).
The team of researchers included two Cal Poly engineering students (Michael Tuttle, EE, and Braden Wicker, CPE) and two Cal Poly engineering faculty (Joseph Callenes, EE/CPE, and Majid Poshtan, EE). The paper, which grew out of a College of Engineering Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) project in 2018, was selected for the award among over 130 papers presented at the conference. Papers were assessed in terms of overall novelty, effort, relevance, clarity and quality of poster presentations by a team of reviewers.