Interdisciplinary team aims to develop security tools in modal methods project funded by AFOSR

With support from a nearly $500,000 Air Force Office of Scientific Research grant, researchers in Lehigh University’s P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science are making strides in understanding and managing signal transmission dynamics in networks.

The interdisciplinary project is led by Subhrajit Bhattacharya, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics, with Rick Blum, the Robert W. Wieseman Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and focuses on developing theoretical foundations and algorithmic tools to control signal flow across networks. 

The work, which includes the development of practical tools for security enhancements and privacy safeguards within complex networks, has potential applications in the communications, energy, and healthcare sectors.

The team has three primary objectives:

  • Decentralized clustering control: Exploring methods to control the multi-scale clustering structure of networks in a decentralized manner, influencing signal transmission through direct control of vertex states.
  • Resonance attack resilience: Developing methods to fortify networks with second order dynamics against resonance attacks, preventing saturation with signals at resonant frequencies.
  • Higher order topological control: Creating algorithms and theoretical foundations to control higher-order topological features, using an algebraic approach.

“With a deeper understanding of how signals and information originate, flow, and transform within complex networks, which could be an electric grid or even a social media platform,” explains Bhattacharya, “we can develop new tools to enhance security and privacy within such networks.”

Bhattacharya is an expert in motion planning and control of autonomous systems. His research interests include applications of topological and geometric methods to the design and analysis of algorithms in robot motion planning, coverage, sensor networks, swarms, distributed systems and control. He is also a member of Lehigh’s Autonomous and Intelligent Robotics (AIR) Lab, which conducts research in areas including robot control, machine learning, manipulation, aerial robotics, and autonomous driving.

Blum, an expert in cybersecurity and machine learning, leads Lehigh's Signal Processing and Communication Research Lab. Previously, he led Lehigh’s involvement in the now-completed Department of Energy Secure Evolvable Energy Delivery Systems (SEEDs) multi-university center on cybersecurity, directing the Integrated Networks for Electricity Cluster.

Subhrajit Bhattacharya

Subhrajit Bhattacharya, assistant professor, mechanical engineering and mechanics

Rick S. Blum, Robert W. Wieseman Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering