Curiosity Drives Progress Lecture Series: Enhancing Safety and Security

New this year, the College of Science and Engineering is modifying its annual public lecture format and introducing the “Curiosity Drives Progress Lecture Series.” The series will focus on showcasing CSE’s top faculty in short, TED-style talks around key research areas. Our next lecture will spotlight faculty members presenting their research related to enhancing safety and security.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
6 p.m.—Doors open
6:30—TED-style talks featuring faculty members
7:45—Reception (light refreshments provided
University of Minnesota–Twin Cities campus
Exact location to be announced soon

The lecture is free and open to the public. Registration will open soon.

About the talks

Taken For a Ride: Why We Need Secure Software in Vehicles
Presented by Michael Whelan, Program Director, Software Engineering Center, Department of Computer Science and

Dr. Whalen will describe trends in vehicle automation in both aviation and automotive systems: drones and remotely piloted aircraft, adaptive cruise control, and eventually self-driving cars and self-piloted aircraft. As these systems become more complex and interconnected, security becomes a substantial risk. Previous attacks have demonstrated that it is possible to remotely take over, surveil, and steal cars and drones. As part of a multi-organization project, the Critical Systems Group (CriSys) at the University of Minnesota used proof-based software engineering to develop a secure helicopter and drones. These vehicles successfully withstood cyber “attack teams” that were armed with source code and in-depth design and quality assurance data. In a new $20 million follow-on project, Whelan and his collaborators are trying to make this technology easy to deploy across a broad range of vehicles.

“Electricity Access and Nonlinear Oscillators”
Presented by Sairaj Dhople, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

According to some estimates, more than 1.2 billion people do not have access to electricity. In many parts of the world, realizing a power system (as we know it) to provide safe and secure access to electricity is architecturally excessive, economically prohibitive, and environmentally unsustainable. As an alternative, our research has proposed enabling control strategies for microgrids: small-footprint power distribution networks where locally available renewable energy is delivered through power-electronics inverters. This talk will discuss a control strategy whereby power-electronic inverters are controlled to emulate the dynamics of nonlinear oscillators to yield a self-organizing, secure, and sustainable microgrid.

About the speakers

Sairaj Dhople received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007, 2009, and 2012, respectively. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Minnesota. His research interests include modeling, analysis, and control of power electronics and power systems with a focus on renewable integration. He was the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2015. He serves as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion and the IEEE Transactions on Power Systems. At UMN, he holds a McKnight Land-grant Professorship, and serves as an affiliate at the Digital Technology Center and the Institute on the Environment.

Catherine French, is a College of Science and Engineering Distinguished Professor, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1984. Her research addresses the behavior of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete structural systems, field monitoring of structures, numerical and experimental investigations of structural systems including time-dependent and environmental effects, evaluation and repair of damaged structures, and development and application of new materials. She is a recipient of a number of awards including the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Joe Kelly Award, ACI Henry L. Kennedy Award, ACI Reinforced Concrete Research Council Arthur J. Boase Award, and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Raymond C. Reese Research Prize. She is a past member of the ACI Board of Directors, and numerous other ACI committees. She currently serves on the ACI 318, Structural Concrete Building Code Committee, for which she has been a member since 1995.

Michael Whalen is the Director of the University of Minnesota Software Engineering Center and a consultant for Rockwell Collins, Inc. Dr. Whalen is interested in formal analysis, language translation, testing, and requirements engineering. He has developed simulation, translation, testing, and formal analysis tools for Model-Based Development languages including Simulink, Stateflow, SCADE, and RSML-e, and has published more than 80 papers on these topics. He has led successful formal verification projects on large industrial avionics models, including displays (Rockwell-Collins ADGS-2100 Window Manager), redundancy management and control allocation (AFRL CerTA FCS program) and autoland (AFRL CerTA CPD program). He is currently working on improving the scalability of formal verification and extracting information from proofs that can be used to satisfy certification requirements related to traceability and adequacy of requirements. He has recently applied proof tools towards creating secure autonomous vehicles in the DARPA HACMS project.