New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Building upon past courses, several universities across the United States (U.S) have incorporated a critical infrastructure educational game platform as a unifying platform to integrate different disciplines to a common goal. The critical infrastructure backbones of the world provide the delivery mechanisms for energy and other utilities that provide the lifestyle we have come to expect in our society. As these critical infrastructure systems have evolved, the complexity of their integration has generated numerous challenges that are more pronounced as the infrastructure ages. Although still a modern technological wonder, the aging power grid needs a workforce that understands the many facets required to reliably and securely integrate advanced communication and control technologies with the infrastructure and systems to address the new demands of increased renewable and distributed generation, complex markets, and resilience to damaging storms and cyber attacks. Educational institutions need to accept the challenge of weaving the great diversity of disciplines into the common fabric which allows specialties to effectively work together. To energize the multidisciplinary studies challenge, [redacted Northwest state]]’s public universities, [redacted Midwestern state], [redacted mountain state university] and [east coast university], in cooperation with U.S. Department of Energy’s [national lab], developed undergraduate and graduate courses targeted at the critical infrastructure challenge, using a game based approach. The Grid Game provides realistic and entertaining motivation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, through inclusion of the physics of power systems, cyber-physical vulnerabilities, energy markets, and control systems. The game provides the mechanism for understanding the impact on stability of an electric grid due to factors driven by computer security, balanced growth of customer base and power generation assets, energy markets, and the balance of automation and human operator decisions. The human decision making process of grid operators and cybercriminals supply a basis for the consideration of other social components including criminology studies. The methodology and outcomes of two sets of courses at the universities will be discussed in this paper. Findings from the special topics course in resilient systems co-taught by Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science Professors and professionals in disciplines of control systems and cognitive psychology offered through [redacted universities] will be discussed. The outcomes of mentor guided projects to resilience challenges in: multi-agent decision controls, human factors, computer security and power systems will be assessed. Projects range from notional resilience improvement to integration of distributed electric grid simulation to hardware in the loop. One engagement assessment method is the percentage of students that continue projects beyond the one semester course. We will also discuss findings from an integrative grid game course project between the Electrical and Computer Engineering and Criminal Justice departments at [redacted university]. Specifically, we will share lessons learned in four areas: (i) assessing student engagement and recognition of disciplinary contributions and roles, (ii) fusing liberal arts and engineering to gain a holistic approach to learning about grid cybersecurity, (iii) approaches to promote discipline-specific student research capabilities and enhancing experiential learning, and (iv) using this multidisciplinary course project to further improve the Grid Game's functionality.
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