Capacity Building: Collaborative Research: Integrated Learning Environment for Cyber Security of Smart Grid
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Ensuring the cyber-security of the smart grid raises significant interest amongst both general public and researchers. However, the corresponding education programs fall behind in many aspects. Very limited curriculum or hands-on learning resources are available for security education about the smart grid, especially for the mutual impacts between cyber and physical systems. To bridge this gap, this project is developing an integrated simulation environment dedicated to smart grid education programs, and is designing a suite of course modules and hands-on projects focusing on security of modern power systems. Through federating the control network simulator with the Power Grid Simulator Program, this project covers both cyber and physical systems underpinning smart grid operations. The research team is carrying out well-planned evaluation and dissemination activities to assess the effectiveness of the innovative instructional materials and promote their wide adoption. Rigorous evaluation procedures are being used by experienced independent evaluators. The research team is implementing the new instructional materials in six courses at three participating institutions, and the project is promoting the wide adoption of the approaches through two faculty development workshops.Intellectual Merits: This project is designing a first-of-its-kind smart grid simulation environment dedicated to security education programs that covers both cyber and physical systems. This environment and the educational materials provide transformative learning experiences for students on future electric energy systems and promote research and education in this interdisciplinary field. Through the dissemination efforts such as faculty development workshops and outreach activities, the project establishes a student education and training pipeline that attracts high school students to CS and EE majors, equips college students with much needed cyber and physical knowledge and skills for secure power systems, and prepares them for the challenges of working in the future power industry.Broader Impacts: This project provides a new method to train qualified workforce to fill tens of thousands of open positions in the fast evolving smart grid industry and improve the sustainability and security of future power systems. The project provides interdisciplinary research experiences in cyber-physical systems involving power grid, networks, and security to both graduate and undergraduate students. Minority and under-represented students also benefit from the project.