In the same way the internet transformed how we interact with information, cyber-physical systems (CPS) are transforming the way we interact with and control the physical world around us. Many objects in our everyday life are controlled by computers. From autonomous cars to manufacturing machines and even musical instruments, embedded systems integrate sensing, computation, control, and networking into physical objects and infrastructure connecting them to the internet and each other to collectively perform a useful function. These networks function as one to control a physical process responding to feedback and adapting to new conditions in real-time.
The advances of cyber-physical systems have the potential to reshape our world with more responsive, precise, reliable, and efficient systems, enabling a revolution of ‘smart’ devices and systems that improve our quality of life. Areas like healthcare, wireless sensor networks, traffic flow management, and electric power generation and delivery will benefit from enhanced services and improved operational efficiencies.
While harnessing cyber-physical systems could have enormous societal impact and economic benefit in many traditional industries, unique challenges are also presented as unexpected and abnormal systems behaviour can lead to disruptions which can have major impacts on society.
Complex systems are difficult to build and manage and the extensive use of information and communication technologies in cyber-physical systems make them vulnerable to cyber attack. If the interface between complex systems components breaks down, the compromise can lead to a disruption ranging from small service interruptions to huge impacts on critical infrastructure such as transport or medical systems which could jeopardise physical safety and cause huge financial loss.
Our research is developing innovative solutions and technological approaches to cyber-physical system design, management, and control which can be implemented in realistic and real cyber-physical systems environments to address cyber-physical systems’s scalability, heterogeneity, security, timely intrusion detection, and complexity. This not only helps to mitigate cyber attacks but also provides a framework to ensure cyber-physical systems are resilient against potential threats.
Our researchers have diverse skills and interdisciplinary knowledge in cybersecurity, electrical, software, and systems engineering, and quality and process improvement. Over the years we have established an international research reputation as leaders in:
The key aspects of our research working with leading industry, state, and federal departments include:
We are actively involved in several community engagement activities that promote participation in cyber-physical systems research:
Master level courses which explore the concepts of this research are:
The course syllabus includes elements of CPS design, vulnerability assessment, and addressing challenges. Students can participate in Blue/Red team exercises to uncover cybersecurity weaknesses in cyber-physical systems and develop defensive mechanisms.