April 2015

Letter from the Editor
Nicolas Younan, Mississippi State University
Dear ECEDHA Members, Industry Partners, and Colleagues,

Welcome to the April 2015 issue of the ECE Source.  I hope that the ECEDHA Annual Meeting at Hilton Head last month was beneficial and enjoyable.  This issue focuses on cybersecurity and cyber physical systems and includes three feature articles.

The first article is by Manimaran Govindarasu and Aditya Ashok of Iowa State University related to CPS Testbed Federations: Realizing High-Fidelity, Scalable Experimental Platforms for Security and Resiliency of Critical Infrastructure Systems.

Current Views
Barry Sullivan
Barry Sullivan,
STEM and the Liberal Arts


STEM outreach and attracting students to engineering figured prominently among the topics discussed during the ECEDHA Annual Conference in Hilton Head last month.  A look at the articles selected for this issue's ECE in the News section indicates these topics are much discussed in the trade and popular press as well.

>> Read more

Featured Articles
CPS Testbed Federations: Realizing High-Fidelity, Scalable Experimental Platforms for Security and Resiliency of Critical Infrastructure Systems

By Manimaran Govindarasu and Aditya Ashok, Iowa State University
Protecting critical infrastructures (CIs) against cyber-attacks is of paramount importance to national security and economic well-being.  Cyber Physical System (CPS) Security testbeds play fundamental roles in cyber security R&D, namely, vulnerability analysis, impact analysis, risk assessment, attack-defense evaluations, and in the exploration of future advancements including the development robust countermeasures.  CPS testbeds provide a realistic platform wherein functionality of cyber, control, and physical components, and the coupling between them can be accurately captured within a controlled environment.  This article first presents a testbed federation architecture for CPS security/resiliency experimentation, then presents a prototype implementation and demonstration of such an architecture, and finally identifies avenues for future research.

Industrial Control System Traffic Data Sets for Intrusion Detection Research

By Thomas Morris and Wei Gao, Mississippi State University
Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems monitor and control physical processes associated with the critical infrastructure. Weaknesses in the application layer protocols, however, leave SCADA networks vulnerable to attack. In response, cyber security researchers have developed myriad intrusion detection systems.  Researchers primarily rely on unique threat models and the corresponding network traffic data sets to train and validate their intrusion detection systems. This leads to a situation in which researchers cannot independently verify the results, cannot compare the effectiveness of different instruction detection systems, and cannot adequately validate the ability of intrusion detection systems to detect various classes of attacks.

A Methodology for Designing Resilient and Smart Critical Infrastructures

By Salim Hariri, Jesus Pacheco, Cihan Tunc, and Youssif Al-Nashif
Critical infrastructures are rapidly converging toward digital technologies in order to provide advanced information services, efficient management, and resource utilization.  This has led to the proliferation of ubiquitous connectivity to critical infrastructures (electrical grid, utility networks, finance, etc.) that are connecting homes, businesses, and government resources.  This will drive the effort toward the deployment of smart homes, buildings, and cities.  On the other hand, such smart systems are more complex, dynamic, heterogenous, and have many vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber-attacks.  Protecting and securing the resources and services of smart systems become critically important due to the disruptive or even potentially life-threatening nature of a failure or attack on these systems.

Corporate Feature
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ECE in the News
7 Engineering Advances That Could Change the World
By Ohio University (February 18, 2015, ECNMag.com)

Advances in computer and electrical engineering have been revolutionary over the past few decades, changing the way we live, work and play.  From new advances in medicine to automotive technology and biotechnology, electrical and computer engineering has made great strides when it comes to improving the overall quality of life.
9 Experiments that Shaped the Future of Engineering
By Ohio University, Russ College of Engineering (February 24, 2015, ECNMag.com)

The electrical research event most people know of is Benjamin Franklin's Kite & Key. The legend goes that Benjamin Franklin tied a key to a kite and flew that kite in a lightning storm to prove electricity was a natural occurrence. This act of reckless abandon to understand our world, although not historically accurate, is respected because of the bravery.

>> Read more

5 STEM Toys You Must Buy for Your Kid
By Kasey Panetta (March 5, 2015, ECNMag.com)

Sometimes you have to buckle down and do the dirty work and other times you get to assemble toys at work.  A large part of the STEM conversation centers around when and where kids develop an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  This often leads to discussions about toys and how they can affect the skill sets that children develop, which in turn can affect careers.  But how fun can a toy be if it's supposed to be a learning experience?  I decided to test out a few toys that sounded intriguing and picked my five favorites to feature here.
This is How Society Feels About Engineers
By TE Connectivity (March 6, 2015, ECNMag.com)

As a part of Engineering Week (we're a little late with this!) our friends over at TE Connectivity decided to do a little digging into the lives of engineers.  In the second annual Engineering Sentiment Survey, the researchers looked at 1,010 adults and how they viewed engineers in the community.

>> Read more

Durbin Proposes American Innovation Act to Fund Scientific Research
By Amina Elahi (March 16, 2015, Chicago Tribune)

Sen. Dick Durbin announced plans Monday for legislation that he said would keep the U.S. competitive in research and development for decades.  Durbin said his American Innovation Act seeks to increase funding for basic scientific research 5 percent, or $100 billion, over the next 10 years.  He made his announcement at the 1871 tech hub and said he plans to introduce the bill next week.
>> Read more


Why America's Obsession with STEM Education is Dangerous
By Fareed Zakaria (March 26, 2015, Washington Post)

If Americans are united in any conviction these days, it is that we urgently need to shift the country's education toward the teaching of specific, technical skills.  Every month, it seems, we hear about our children's bad test scores in math and science - and about new initiatives from companies, universities or foundations to expand STEM courses (science, technology, engineering and math) and deemphasize the humanities.
>> Read more


Special Announcements
Renew your 2015 ECEDHA Membership today!

2015 ECEDHA membership renewal for ECEDHA department heads is now underway.  Membership runs on a calendar year beginning January 1st through December 31st.

Renew your membership today to keep receiving ECEDHA membership benefits, including:
  • Access to the ECEDHA Annual Conference and ECExpo
  • Complimentary registration for ECEDHA's ECE Webinars
  • The opportunity to participate in the ECEDHA Annual Survey, a valuable tool in benchmarking your organization in lab and office space, faculty and department head salaries, research budgets, student retention, graduation rates, and much more.
  • Complimentary job posting service via the ECEDHA website
  • And much more!

For questions, please contact Megan Bekolay at mbekolay@ecedha.org or 312.559.3724


Upcoming ECE Webinar
Creating Equation-Based Simulation Apps

April 16, 2015     2:00pm EDT

Customize your multiphysics simulations using equation-based modeling in the COMSOL environment.  Readily couple your custom equations with other built-in physics interfaces for a powerful approach to modeling that eliminates the need for user-written subroutines.  Applications of equation-based modeling will be demonstrated, including a PDE model analyzing compression seal behavior.



Produced by: 

In This Issue
Calendar of Events
April 16, 2015
Sponsored by COMSOL
On Demand Webinar
Sponsored by Quanser
On Demand Webinar
Sponsored by ANSYS
On Demand Webinar
Sponsored by Piazza
On Demand Webinar
Sponsored by Quanser
On Demand Webinar
Sponsored by COMSOL
Save the Date!


2016 ECEDHA Annual Conference
and ECExpo


March 18-22, 2016

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines

La Jolla, California
ECEDHA Member and
Partner News
WEPAN Webinar

In April, WEPAN'S Engineering Inclusive Teaching-Faculty Professional Development series features two engineering education superstars.  They will share their tips for creating lively, inclusive learning environments both live and online.

April 9, 2015 at 12:00pm ET, Active Learning - Live and Online

Drs. Richard Feldman (Professor Emeritus, Engineering, North Carolina State University) and Rebecca Brent (President, Education Designs, Inc.)

NSF-NAE Sponsored Workshop

Reforming Electric Energy Systems Curriculum with Emphasis on Sustainability

April 9-10, 2015 in Washington, DC at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Building

>> Agenda
2015 IEEE Educational Activities Board Awards

Please consider nominating a colleague or deserving individual for one of EAB's prestigious awards, including:

Deadline Extended: May 4, 2015

2015 African Engineering Deans Council Annual Conference

September 17-18, 2015 in  Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Hosted by the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology