Taha receives NSF Early CAREER Award to identify network vulnerabilities and failures

Ahmad F. Taha, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, has received a prestigious NSF CAREER Award for fundamental research in new approaches to network sensors and controllers scheduling. His CAREER project, “Scheduling Driving Sensing and Control Nodes in Nonlinear Networks with Applications to Fuel-Free Energy Systems,” offers a novel framework for the exploration of sensor and controller scheduling problems.

Ahmad Taha

Power and water systems, the Internet, and other infrastructure are assembled into intertwined networks. These systems form nonlinear networks that rely on ubiquitous sensors and controllers. Examples include water flow meters and pumps in water systems, ramp meters and cameras on highways, and solar panels and smart meters in energy networks. As a result, the scheduling of sensors and controllers embodies a major step in the reliable operation of various systems and urban infrastructure.

The five-year, $526,527 grant will support work to generate subsets of driving control/sensing nodes and will have major implications in identifying vulnerabilities and network failures. The project will apply the theoretical foundations in fuel-free power networks that are characterized by the intermittent nature of renewables and consumer behavior.

Taha’s research and teaching interests span dynamic systems sciences, control theory, optimization, and cyber-security with applications in energy, water, and transportation systems. His recent research examines how complex and dynamic urban infrastructure operate, behave, and sometimes misbehave.

Taha holds a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Purdue University and a B.E. from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to joining the Vanderbilt engineering faculty in August 2021, He was an assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Taha also has been a visiting researcher at Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Toronto, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program offers the most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Taha’s award is under the Division of  Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation, National Science Foundation Award #2152450.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, 615 343-6314