The U.S. modern critical infrastructure—from the electrical grid that sends power to homes to the pipelines that deliver water and natural gas and the railways and roadways we travel—is full of digitized components. In a power grid, this includes distributed energy resources such as smart meters, solar inverters, power-quality sensors, and protection devices that are geographically spread out, programmable and network connected. These networks, as currently designed, typically rely on a single control center for analysis and decision making.
To defend against cyber-attacks and harden the system, LLNL mathematicians, systems analysts, power engineers, cybersecurity experts and computational scientists have turned to collaborative autonomy—a new class of computational techniques that teach networked devices how to self-organize into a collective whole. And recently, an LLNL research team has developed Skywing—an open-source, high-reliability, real-time, decentralized software platform for domain scientists, mathematicians, and computer scientists exploring collaborative-autonomy applications for critical infrastructure. Skywing provides approaches and solutions for real-world applications that solve problems and allow for confidence in the results. It also helps lower the barrier to entry for those who may lack fluency in decentralized software development.