Human Capital Development – Resilient Cyber-Physical Systems

Principal Investigator:  Tom McDermott, Georgia Institute of Technology (

Co-Principal Investigator: Barry Horowitz, University of Virginia (

Timeframe:  March 2017 to September 2017

Category:  Trusted Systems

Sponsor:  DASD (SE)


Objective: The objective of this research is to assess the ability and current state of U.S. university education to produce a workforce that can design, protect, and sustain secure and resilient CPS. This research is intended as an initial characterization of the educational landscape and consists of the development of an appropriate taxonomy to describe a resilient CPS education, a survey of current university programs and resources in the domain, and a discussion of the challenges that may require further research.

Approach: The research team shall:

  • Define the appropriate set of system quality definitions and relationships that characterize defense cyber-physical systems, with a focus on system security concepts and processes;
  • Define a set of concepts and a taxonomy for secure computing within cyber-physical systems in defense domain. This study will provide as its central focus concepts associated with computer hardware and software and related communications systems at the core of these cyber-physical systems. It may consider but will not address comprehensively other areas of systems security such as related enterprise IT systems, supply chain systems, manufacturing control systems, etc. As a starting point the research will consider the basic concepts and taxonomy of dependable and secure computing systems as developed within the IEEE Technical Committee on Dependable Computing and Fault Tolerance [Avizienis, et al, 2004];
  • Identify related learning concepts within the secure computing domain that would form the basis of an educational program in the domain, which can serve as keywords for a curriculum search process:
    • Including consultation with faculty considered to be subject matter experts in the domain.
  • Explore, survey, and document existing programs and curriculum related to the concepts and taxonomy, by university;
  • Develop an additional survey instrument and conduct a limited faculty survey (using SERC universities if possible) to gain further insight on learning objectives, critical references, curriculum design intent, and required laboratory resources;
  • Using the taxonomy and surveys, classify existing academic curricula, lab facilities, and degree requirements with respect to the taxonomy; and
  • Generate a report formally documenting the concepts and taxonomy, learning concepts, survey results, challenges noted in the research topic description, and recommendations for further research.


Major Deliverables:


Publications:  none to date

Research Team


  • Tom McDermott, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Barry Horowitz, University of Virginia
  • Molly Nadolksi, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Paige Meierhofer, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Nicola Bezzo, University of Virginia
  • Jack Davidson, University of Virginia
  • Ron Williams, University of Virginia

Collaborating Institutions

Project Researchers