Prof. Gil Zussman and Dr. David Hay along with Prof. Alon Efrat (University of Arizona) and Prof. Eytan Modiano (MIT) have been awarded a $454,000 grant from the Trustworthy Computing program of the National Science Foundation. The grant is entitled "Protecting Networks from Large-Scale Physical Attacks and Disasters" and the proposal was motivated by the fact that telecommunication networks play a vital role in all sectors of our society and are especially important during a crisis. Since networks rely on physical infrastructure (e.g., fibers and routers), they are vulnerable to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, or physical attacks, such as an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack. The project will study the impact of a disaster or an attack on the telecommunications infrastructure and will develop mechanisms to mitigate their effect.
In particular, the project will consider events that cause a large number of failures in a specific geographical region. It will use probabilistic and geometric failure models that take into account the geography of the network and the attack characteristics. Under these models, techniques to identify the most vulnerable parts of the network will be developed. Moreover, tools to provide a-priori protection plan will be designed. Finally, restoration algorithms that will improve the resilience of the network will be developed. The project will provide a fundamental understanding of the vulnerability of networks to disasters or attacks. It will also provide network algorithms to mitigate the impact of, and recover from, such disasters and attacks.
The project was discussed in PhysOrg.com and in a Public Radio interview.