Researchers receive seed grant to study cyber threats on digital manufacturing

4/25/2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A team of four Penn State researchers, including three engineers, has received a $25,000 seed grant from the Penn State Institute for CyberScience to study the effects cyber security threats have on digital manufacturing systems. 

Janis Terpenny, professor and Peter and Angel Dal Pezzo Chair and Head of the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, is the principal investigator (PI) on the eight-month project titled, “The Dark Side of Digital Innovation: Understanding Cyber Threats for Digital Manufacturing.”

“If we are successful, this project will establish a systematic framework for assessing cyber-security risks and mitigating cyber threats in digital manufacturing,” said Terpenny.

Terpenny’s co-PIs on the project are: Dazhong Wu, senior research associate in the Marcus department; Peng Liu, professor of information sciences and technology; and Timothy Simpson, Paul Morrow Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering and the Marcus department. 

Digital manufacturing – which is an integrated process of manufacturing that is centered on a computer system – has become more popular with the rise in the quantity and quality of computer systems in manufacturing plants. It allows manufacturers to produce high quality products at lower costs by incorporating new technologies such as wireless networks, the Industrial Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing and advanced robotics. 

Along with these new capabilities, however, comes the significant risk of cyber attacks to these smart manufacturing systems. 

“The goal of this project is to assess the vulnerability of digital manufacturing systems as well as introduce a strategy to mitigate targeted cyber attacks on the systems,” explained Wu. 

The researchers will be looking to identify anomalies in cloud-based manufacturing systems by monitoring manufacturing processes through the use of sensors. Supervised and unsupervised machine learning techniques will be used to detect atypical conditions in the manufacturing processes and a determination will be made between abnormal issues caused by cyber-attacks and those caused by typical mechanical failures.

In order to demonstrate the cyber security strategy, a metal additive manufacturing system, which is largely cloud-based, will be used as an application example. 

After the seed grant research is completed, the researchers anticipate submitting a proposal to the National Science Foundation Cyber-Manufacturing program.

The Institute for CyberScience is one of the five interdisciplinary research institutes under the Office of the Vice President for Research, and is dedicated to supporting cyber-enabled research across the disciplines. ICS builds an active community of researchers using computational methods in a wide range of fields through co-hiring of tenure-track faculty, providing seed funding for ambitious computational research projects, and offering access to high-performance computing resources through its Advanced CyberInfrastructure. 

Of the 33 proposals submitted to the Institute for CyberScience this year, 20 were selected for funding. This represents a major increase over the 2016 ICS Seed Grant Program, where six projects were funded. More on the 2017-funded projects can be found here.

 

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Pamela Krewson Wertz

pmk128@psu.edu

“The goal of this project is to assess the vulnerability of digital manufacturing systems as well as introduce a strategy to mitigate targeted cyber attacks on the systems." 

 
 

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Home of the first established industrial engineering program in the world, the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) at Penn State has made a name for itself in the engineering industry through its storied tradition of unparalleled excellence and innovation in research, education, and outreach.

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