Jie Fu Receives NSF CAREER Award to Develop Intelligent Sensing & Control Methods

ECE Assistant Professor Jie Fu has received a $550K NSF CAREER Award in support of her project “Formal Synthesis of Provably Correct Cyber-Physical Defense with Asymmetric Information.” Dr. Fu is a recent addition to the ECE Florida faculty, having started at UF in July of 2021. The project will work to enhance the security and performance of cyber-physical systems, specifically autonomous robotic systems in dynamic, uncertain environments. The project continues progress made by Dr. Fu in her research area—integrated formal methods, learning, control, and game theory.

The project supported by the CAREER Award falls squarely within the defense space, working to create cyberphysical systems which are provably secure and capable of high-level task performance. From the project abstract:

For mission-critical Cyber-physical systems (CPSs), it is crucial to ensure these systems behave correctly while interacting with open, dynamic, and uncertain environments. Synthesizing CPSs with assurance is a daunting task: On the one hand, the interconnected networks, sensors, and (semi-) autonomous systems introduce unprecedented vulnerabilities to both cyber- and physical spaces; On the other hand, purposeful attacks may aim to compromise more complex system properties beyond traditional stability and safety. For example, in a robotized security patrol system, a successful cyber-attack on the sensor network can be combined with adversarial control commands to compromise the system and disrupt its mission. In this project, the goal is to develop intelligent sensing and control methods for CPSs that leverage advanced cyber defense techniques for constructing provably secured systems subject to high-level complex mission objectives.

The project also includes an educational plan by developing an interdisciplinary curriculum for engineering students on cyber-physical security and attack mitigation techniques. Dr. Fu will promote K-12 outreach by participating in campus-wide activities and offering a two-week summer course for high-school students with hands-on robotic and wireless sensor networks experiments, aiming to raise students’ interest in science and engineering and public’s awareness of CPS security.

The NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.