Attack Resilient Wide Area Monitoring of Power Systems


In this project, we demonstrated a real-time distributed optimization algorithm based on Alternating Directions Method of Multipliers (ADMM) for estimating the electro-mechanical oscillation modes of large power system networks using Synchrophasors. We partitioned the network topology to be divided into multiple clusters, with each cluster equipped with a local estimator at the local control center. The local estimators receive Synchrophasor measurements from within their own respective areas, run a local consensus algorithm, and communicate their estimates to an estimator. We illustrated our results using a hardware-in-loop power system emulation testbed at NC State federated with DETERLab.

As part of the SmartAmerica exposition, we implemented and demonstrated the resiliency of the proposed algorithm. We first showed that in the current state-of-art (Case I ), the error in the estimation is high in the presence of the attack. We then showed that in the next-generation algorithms proposed and implemented by our team (Case II ), the error in the estimation stays low even in the presence of the attack.

The Demonstrations are available as:
Addtional information on the above scenarios is available as:



The SmartAmerica Challenge was a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow project to bring together research in Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and test-beds from different sectors. On June 11 2014, our team demonstrated SmartEnergy algorithms and technologies using the DHS-funded DETERLab facilities at the Washington DC Convention Center. Our team was comprised of Iowa State University, MITRE Corporation, National Instrument, NREL North Carolina State University, Penn State University, Scitor Corporation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the University of Southern California, Information Sciences Institute

In the challenge, the term "cyber-physical system" indicated a combination of the physical entities that were controlled dynamically to improve security and resiliency of the SmartGrid. Using the DETERLab technologies, such at MAGI and Federation, we demonstatrated next generation distributed wide area oscillation monitoring algorithms that are significantly more robust to cyber attacks and super storm disruptions.

Our Team and Goals


Our world is changing how energy is produced, distributed and consumed. We have the opportunity to determine our nation’s role in this transformation. Our team, comprised of five leading universities, one national lab and three industrial corporations, headquartered in eight states, will demonstrate a set of synergistic scenarios that must fuel ongoing analysis, research and development to inform policy makers and researchers in order to ensure that our country will achieve the benefits of an Industrial Internet.

Benefit of the project includes: First, we provide extensible research testbeds integrated across four leading universities providing research infrastructure for fundamental research and national-level grid exercises. These capabilities aimed at combatting a new generation of advanced persistent threats, cyber-attack actors and advanced nation state adversaries, advance our homeland security preparedness. Second, US-manufactured smart sensor technologies enable wide area and distributed monitoring, yielding regional and national-scale resilience to large scale disruptions such as super storms. Building on initial investments from the ARRA , we demonstrate new technologies, powered with skillsets that create meaningful jobs spanning our national middle class. Third, clean renewable energy generation, complimenting traditional generation assets, combining resurgence in natural gas to expand domestic energy generation. Our utilities, regulators, economists and other policy stakeholders need insight into the ideal and balanced mix of generation and transmission assets. Our introduction of serious gaming platforms models complex interactions and provides critical feedback for future policies that improve our economy, reduce carbon emissions and create new marketplace business opportunity.