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A&M TEES research support power grid against cyber-physical threats

Posted at 10:13 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-28 12:53:05-04

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — With countries in turmoil, being prepared for cyber threats is important. The work of a research professor is being recognized as she helps to ensure power grid protection.

Assistant professor Dr. Katherine Davis brought her passion for analyzing power systems through a cyber medium to the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station in 2017. Since then, she has discovered the use of artificial intelligence to model data that would help mitigate cyber-physical threats.

”Different techniques that use cyber side and power side information together both from sensor memberships and data sources as well as model side information,” said Dr. Katherine Davis, assistant professor in the electrical computer and engineering department in the College of Engineering.

Dr. Davis' studies target critical thinking proactively rather than re-actively. As the technology databases, they use help to plan and prepare to mitigate possible threats.

”Our research tries to do as much as possible in the planning stage and so that comes from a sort of this modeling and simulation background,” said Dr. Davis.

So, when you think about the lights you use or the TV you’re watching, here’s the group behind the scenes helping to make sure it stays secure.

”Using everything we can from the cyber and physical sides and developing tools and techniques help utilities stakeholders understand the system as well as they can at a very early stage,” said Dr. Davis.

With partnerships like the U.S. Department of Energy and other electric power utilities, Bill Flores with ERCOT, says their work is more important than ever before.

”Since the war in Ukraine started the number of cyber-attacks against all grid operators has really increased dramatically,” said Bill Flores, Board Vice-Chairperson.

Flores also adds the grid has seen record demand and appreciates the work Dr. Davis and her class are doing to ensure technological advances continue to progress.
Knowing the impact their real-time data analysis and models are making is a passion Dr. Davis and her students share.

"We’re trying to ensure the energy supply to ensure that you will have the constant reliable energy,” one of her students shared.

Come August Dr. Davis will begin a new project with the help of her students analyzing the response of cyber-physical threats and how human error is involved.