An Open-Source Platform for Inter-Network Analytics of High-Consequence Events

Project: Research project

Project Details


Objectives and Intellectual Merit: The infrastructure of modern civilization is a set of complex systems1 that dynamically interact across multiple layers of abstraction. Researchers from many disciplines2 are designing analytical tools for predicting the global and local behaviors of these complicated, multi-layer networks. Easily usable, available (open source) and inter-operated tools are needed to enable fair comparison of these techniques and also to support what-if exploration of the implications of high-consequence events (WMD attack, DDoS attack, computer virus affecting critical infrastructure, disease epidemic, severe weather). Such events may affect not only a single complex system (e.g., the Internet), but, potentially all such systems, through the dependencies and interactions that exist between them. As one such example, a virus that affects computers which perform weather forecasting could adversely affect the smart grid by mis-estimating available renewables or the demand for heating or cooling (HVAC). As another example, a WMD directly affecting electricity systems and/or transportation systems will impact food distribution that relies on them. The tools to be developed need to support both simulation as well as analytical evaluation. To facilitate acceptance by the user community, the proposed tools must include interfaces supporting integration of software components written in a variety of styles and languages. Similarly, to support technology transition, the products interfaces should easily map to interfaces widely used in relevant application domains. Our Phase I project will create: detailed software performance specifications (SPS) for these tools; an interface design description (IDD) consistent with the SPS; and a Software Design Description (SDD) for the final product. The SDD will include a set of representative use-cases to elucidate the applications to be supported by the final product. We foresee that the Phase I work will include development of a small number of rapid prototypes to evaluate design alternatives and to guarantee the feasibility of the final SDD. Broader Impact: The main impact of the project will be to prepare and validate a framework for the design of a Phase II end-product that will provide DTRA with a common platform for: (a) fair comparison of network analytics methods from different research groups; (b) enabling detailed what-if simulation of high-consequence events and how they may affect multiple interconnected networks; (c) and support technology transition. The proposed tool will allow the sponsor and research groups to easily generate and reuse common test cases for evaluating competing techniques; it will produce reliable and verifiable results that illustrate both the strong and weak points of proposed resiliency frameworks for high-consequence events. The tools we produce will have well defined and user-friendly Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to support a broad community of researchers. We will also design interfaces with technology transition in mind. To this end, our illustrative inter-network use-cases, including the high-consequence event/attack itself and associated performance metrics for resiliency and assessment of model realism, will also include plans for advancing our APIs to accommodate more practically viable applications.

Effective start/end date9/28/154/27/16


  • Defense Threat Reduction Agency: $149,773.00


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