CAREER: Privacy-Guaranteed Distributed Interactions in Critical Infrastructure Networks

Project: Research project

Project Details


CAREER: Privacy-Guaranteed Distributed Interactions in Critical Infrastructure Networks Project Summary. Information sharing between operators (agents) in critical infrastructure systems such as the Smart Grid is fundamental to reliable and sustained operation. However, de- spite its importance, data sharing in such systems is stymied sometimes with known catastrophic consequences due to the lack of a framework that addresses the competitive interests and infor- mation leakage concerns of agents. There is a tension between sharing data for system stability and reliability (utility) and withholding data (privacy) for competitive advantage. This problem of privacy-constrained interactions in distributed systems, identified by the PI as a competitive privacy problem, appears in a number of complex systems involving agent interactions. A key feature of this proposal is a foundational approach for this problem grounded in an information leakage based privacy model. Intellectual Merit. This CAREER project proposes the development of an information- and game-theoretic foundation for privacy guaranteed information sharing amongst distributed self- interested agents in complex systems such as the Smart Grid. The key insight underlying the PIs proposed framework is that the competitive privacy problem can be modeled as a distributed interac- tive source coding problem with privacy constraints. The PIs prior work established source coding with an information leakage constraint as a compelling framework for privacy-guaranteed data pub- lishing in a one-to-many database setting. The multidisciplinary research proposed here focuses on four mutually related challenges: (1) characterization of the fundamental limits of distributed interaction (lossy source coding) with privacy constraints in multi-agent network abstractions of the Smart Grid; (2) operational and practical significance of information-theoretic privacy measures; (3) formalizing the cost of privacy and the role of trust and repeated interactions for cooperation; and (4) distributed algorithms for privacy-guaranteed data sharing in the Smart Grid. The proposed research will make theoretical advances in distributed interaction protocols with precise tradeoffs that are applicable to the Smart Grid. In tandem, this work will make pivotal advancements in understanding the significance of Shannon-theoretic metrics for information leakage. Quantifying the economics of information sharing will lead to market-aware interaction mechanisms. Broader Impact. The proposed research will enable information sharing in a variety of com- plex networks with strict privacy requirements such as electronic healthcare, air transport, financial, and government and enterprise distributed data systems. In addition to creating linkages between relatively related disciplines of information theory, statistical signal processing, game theory, and security, this research will also engender academic and industry collaborations in power distribution systems. Perhaps even more important, as climate change leads to changes in availablity of natural resources, harnessing the power of information and sharing it in a timely manner will be imperative for reliability and sustainability in a life-critical application water distribution. Education and Outreach Plan. The PI will incorporate several synergistic mechanisms: (i) knowledge dissemination through scientific publications, talks, tutorials, and a book; (ii) active collaborations, both domestic and international, with academia and industry to spearhead cross- disciplinary research; (iii) engagement with elementary and middle school students via direct in- volvement in well-established outreach programs at ASU, specifically targeting female and under- represented populations; and (iv) active recruitment of motivated undergraduate and graduate researchers (the PIs research program already includes two female graduate students); and (v) in- tegrating the PIs research into the curriculum through a new course (Cyber-Security and Privacy in the Smart Grid) and promoting cross-disciplinary collaborations. 1
Effective start/end date1/15/1412/31/19


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $463,000.00

Fingerprint Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.