The network of wires and poles that stitch together America’s power grid is getting old — and the government knows it. Rather than spending billions of dollars replacing the system, the grid needs experts to help make it smarter, more efficient, and much more secure.
Engineering Professor Haibo He is already on the case. The 34- year-old researcher is advancing mathematical and computer architecture to bring the power of the human brain to these networks. He is building computer models of the nation’s power grid to help utilities and government agencies identify and strengthen weak points. With the click of a mouse, his team can see the nationwide effects of a major transmission line or power plant going offline. Along with faculty and students from URI’s Digital Forensics and Cyber Security Center, He’s team is working to address network security.
“Cybersecurity is a relatively new field and not too many solutions to current problems exist yet,” He says. “But our work promises to find them.”
He’s received a prestigious CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation to expand his work on what’s known as “computational intelligence”; delivered a keynote address on that subject in Paris; and published a book, Self-Adaptive Systems for Machine Intelligence that describes processes and potential new solutions to many real-world applications using artificial intelligence.
Named a “Rising Star Innovator of the Year,” by Providence Business News, He works with colleagues and students to connect his work to the disciplines of engineering, computer science and social science. He looks to leverage technology to create computer models that will help to solve some of our nation’s biggest challenges.