IEEE International Conference on Communications, Control, and Computing Technologies for Smart Grids
25–28 October 2021 // Aachen, Germany
Hybrid: In-Person and Virtual Conference


Tuesday, 26 October 2021

13:30-14:30 CET
Zoltan NagyUT Austin

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

13:30-14:30 CET
Klara NahrstedtUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Thursday, 28 October 2021

13:30-14:30 CET
Steven BlairSynaptec

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Time: 13:30-14:30 CET

Zoltan NagyProf. Zoltan Nagy

UT Austin

Title: CityLearn: Demand Response Using Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

Summary: Reinforcement learning (RL) has gained popularity in the research community as a model-free and adaptive control paradigm for the built environment, especially for building energy control. RL has the potential to enable inexpensive plug-and-play building controllers that can be implemented without necessitating potentially expensive control models (unlike model predictive control), and to coordinate multiple buildings for demand response, load shaping, and load shifting. In this presentation, Dr. Nagy will give an overview of CityLearn, an OpenAI Gym environment to facilitate development of Multi- Agent Reinforcement Learning controllers to study interacting buildings, and building-grid interaction.

Short CV: Dr. Nagy is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, directing the Intelligent Environments Laboratory. A roboticist turned building engineer, his research interests are in smart buildings and cities, renewable energy systems, control systems for zero emission building operation, and the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence for the built environment for a sustainable energy transition. He has received several Best Paper awards from the CISBAT conference, Building & Environment journal, as well as a Highest Cited Paper award from Applied Energy. He is organizing and chairing the ACM SIGEnergy workshop on Reinforcement Learning for energy management in buildings and cities (RLEM) at ACM BuildSys.

Prior to joining UT, Austin, Dr. Nagy was a senior scientist at ETH Zurich, in the Department of Architecture, working on control systems for sustainable building operation, as well as wireless sensor networks and applications of machine learning in building retrofit. He holds a Diplom and PhD in mechanical engineering from ETH Zurich.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Time: 13:30-14:30 CET

Klara NahrstedtKlara Nahrstedt

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Title: Next Generation Edge-Cloud-based Security Challenges and Solutions for Smart Grid SCADA Systems

Summary: The Smart Grid SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems are mission-critical Cyber-Physical Systems that are becoming more and more subject to a wide range of attacks coming from external attackers and/or internal misconfigurations.  Traditional intrusion detection systems are deployed to ensure the security of SCADA systems, but they often focus on monitoring only one or two levels of network data, such as transport or content levels, and continuously generate many alerts causing operators’ fatigue and lacking causal explanations where the intrusions may have come from. 

In this talk, we present the next generation of security challenges coming up due to diversity of cyber-infrastructures, SCADA protocols, and increased frequency of software update changes and/or attacks SCADA systems. However, as security challenges increase, we show that innovative solutions are becoming available for SCADA systems, utilizing edge-cloud architectures, deploying multi-level anomaly detection systems, creating alert systems that are mindful of operators’ fatigue, and including causal reasoning to point potential origins and sources of attacks, anomalies, and alerts. We will discuss edge-cloud-based anomaly detection and causal reasoning analyzers, and using our research results, we will show that it is possible to provide real-time anomaly detection and attack reasoning in SCADA systems.

The presentation includes results and insights from the joint work with Jude Battista, Atul Bohara, Ghada Elbez, Shane McFly, Wenyu Ren, Jordi Ros-Giralt, William Sanders, Alfonso Valdes, Tim Yardley, Tuo Yu  in the Information Trust Institute (ITI) at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Short CV: Klara Nahrstedt is the Grainger Distinguished Chair in Engineering Professor in the Computer Science Department, and Director of Coordinated Science Laboratory in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests are directed toward end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS) and resource management in large scale multi-modal cyber-physical systems and networks, Internet of Things (IoT) systems, and real-time security and privacy in mission-critical systems such as smart grid. She is the recipient of the IEEE Communication Society Leonard Abraham Award for Research Achievements, University Scholar, Humboldt Research Award, IEEE Computer Society Technical Achievement Award, ACM Special Interest Group in Multimedia (SIGMM) Technical Achievement Award, Technical University Darmstadt Piloty Prize, and Tau Beta Pi Daniel CDrucker Eminent Faculty Award. Klara Nahrstedt received her Diploma in Mathematics from Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in 1985. In 1995 she received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Computer and Information Science. She is ACM Fellow, IEEE Fellow, AAAS Fellow, and Member of the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina Society).

Thursday, 28 October 2021

Time: 13:30-14:30 CET

Steven BlairDr. Steven Blair


Title: Enabling the Data-driven Future

Summary: Declining system inertia, faster system dynamics, and the costs of maintaining ageing assets are some of the key challenges faced by grid operators today. Conventional monitoring and control approaches lack the data required to be effective, do not react fast enough, or do not provide precise, actionable information. However, solutions involving granular monitoring, time-critical communications technologies, and targeted data analysis can together modernise grid operations. This presentation will outline how technologies are advancing us towards a fully data-driven grid.

Short CV: Steven Blair is Head of Power Systems Technologies at Synaptec, UK. He leads Synaptec’s software and data analytics teams. He holds a PhD and MEng from the University of Strathclyde, where has been both a researcher and academic, including holding the Nokia lectureship position. He is interested in power system protection, power quality, data visualisation, and communications technologies. Dr Blair is a member of IEC TC57 Working Group 10, CIGRE Working Group C4/C2.62/IEEE on synchrophasor technologies, and IEEE PSCC WG P10 on STTP.

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