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Professors Lillian Ratliff and Andrew Clark Receive Competitive NSF CRII Grants

Assistant Professor Lillian Ratliff

Assistant Professor Lillian Ratliff

UW EE alum and WPI Assistant Professor Andrew Clark

UW EE alum and WPI Assistant Professor Andrew Clark

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Initiation Initiative (CRII) grant supports faculty early in their careers as a way to establish research independence. Each year, the NSF awards only 25 to 30 grants nationwide. Electrical Engineering Assistant Professor Lillian Ratliff received the grant for her work entitled “Emerging Markets and Myopic Decision-Making in Multi-Modal Transportation Systems: Models and Validation.” UW EE alum (Ph.D. ’14) and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Assistant Professor Andrew Clark received a separate NSF CRII grant for his work entitled “Secure-by-Design Synthesis of Cyber-Physical Systems.”

Ratliff’s work aims to tackle several challenges surrounding future smart cities and traveler mobility. Her team will create high-fidelity models, using real-world data through learning models of mixed-mode travel decisions and emerging mobility markets to identify traveler decision-making.  She will investigate travelers’ evaluations of mobility modes, such as risk-sensitivity and models of market structures (an example of this would be ride-sharing platforms). 

If successful, the project will expose areas where municipalities can adjust their management strategies to supplement a multi-modal sharing economy. Through her team’s collaboration with the Seattle Department of Transportation and industry partners Swiftly and IDAX, the results have real-world applications. This projects builds on other research Ratliff is conducting in multi-modal transportation. Two recent projects have received the NSF US Ignite Grant and the NSF Early-Concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER). 

The goal of Clark’s project is to develop a framework for Cyber-physical systems (CPS) in critical applications, including transportation, health care and energy. Because these properties can be impacted by malicious attacks, which have already been demonstrated on platforms ranging from smart cars to implantable medical devices, this CPS framework must provide verifiable guarantees on properties, such as safety, performance and security. The project aims to formulate passivity-based rules for composing multiple control laws against multi-stage attacks, as well as methods for switching controllers based on the current estimate of the adversary actions.

This effort will contribute to the development of CPS that operate safely in the presence of cyber attacks. Algorithms developed in the project will be implemented on mobile platforms in order to demonstrate the practical feasibility of the approach and ensure successful and timely transition to practice. This work builds on Clark’s Ph.D. research supervised by Research Professor Linda Bushnell and Professor and Chair Radha Poovendran at the University of Washington.