Vanderbilt computer scientist receives NSF CAREER Award to design decision procedures for societal-scale cyber-physical systems

Vanderbilt University computer scientist Abhishek Dubey has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award to design online decision procedures for societal-scale cyber-physical systems such as traffic networks, emergency response systems and power grids that are the critical infrastructure of  communities. The prestigious five-year award honors early career faculty who have the potential to serve as role models in research and education and lead advances in their fields.

Abhishek Dubey

The grant for $500,000, administered by the NSF’s Division of Computer and Network Systems and the cyber-physical systems program, will support the design of an online decision-making pipeline that combines the advantages of online planning algorithms with offline learning experiences, which promises to provide greater robustness and faster responses to changes in the environment. The impact of such decision procedures is evident in ongoing work where Dubey’s team has designed algorithms for optimizing operation of public transit systems and designed algorithms for optimizing emergency response.

The outcome of this new grant will be the design of a modular system that can be used by domain experts to design online decision procedures that consider the future environmental states and adverse situations through generative modeling while choosing an action that maximizes the likelihood of success over longer time horizons.

A significant effort of the project will focus on complementing fundamental research with the design of a cloud-based visual domain-specific modeling environment that can help explain the design, operation, and introspection of methods by using a block-based compositional approach. This design studio will be used in training students as well as community partners who are expected to use these tools.

“These tools have the potential of revolutionizing the operation and optimization of societal-scale large cyber-physical systems such as emergency response, on-demand shuttle scheduling for passenger pickup and drop off and optimizing the charging and discharging schedules for a large fleet of electric vehicles,” Dubey said.

Dubey is an associate professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering. He directs the SCOPE lab (Smart and resilient Computing for Physical Environment) at the Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt. The impact of his research can be seen with his partnerships in building transformation systems for the Nashville Fire department, Nashville transit agency, Chattanooga Transit Agency, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation. His work has been funded by NSF, NASA, DOE, ARPA-E. AFRL, DARPA, Nissan, Siemens, Cisco, and IBM.

Contact: Brenda Ellis, 615 343-6314