UGA Cyber-Physical Systems Symposium fosters innovation and federal collaborations

Cyber-Physical Systems Symposium groupThe second annual Cyber-Physical Systems Symposium, held August 23 and 24, 2023, drew more than 110 participants to the University of Georgia College of Engineering, including researchers, entrepreneurs, and program directors from industry, academia, and government.

The objective of the annual symposium is to foster collaboration among these diverse sectors and facilitate discussions on project-based partnerships such as STTR/SBIR and Co-Op programs. In addition, the event aims to cultivate innovation ecosystems in the fields of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and the Internet of Things (IoT), encompassing areas such as AI/ML, digital twin technology, and cyber-physical security. A central goal is to connect high-tech start-ups with university laboratories to pursue federal grant opportunities, develop disruptive innovations, and encourage bold entrepreneurship endeavors. This year’s symposium was also part of the commitment to the recent NSF funded innovation engine development award: Advancing cyber security technologies in the Central Savannah River Area (GA, SC), which is a collaboration of Augusta University, University of Georgia and other industry and university partners.

The event was organized by co-chairs WenZhan Song, Director of the UGA Center for Cyber-Physical Systems (CCPS)  and Georgia Power Mickey A. Brown Professor in Engineering,  and Frank Zahiri, Robins Air Force Base smart manufacturing and innovation lead. The event opened with introductions and remarks from UGA leadership, including vice president for research Karen Burg, College of Engineering dean Donald Leo, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering director Fred Beyette, School of Computing director Gagan Agrawal, and executive director of business engagement & innovation Kyle Tschepikow. Keynote remarks were introduced by Thomas Fischer, UGA Engineering Advisor Board Member and retired Senior Executive of US Air Force and delivered by Robert Fookes, director of engineering & technical management and chief engineer of the United States Air Force Materiel Command. Several key Air Force leaders attended the symposium: Chief Engineer, Air Force Materiel Command; Edward (Wayne) Ayer, Senior Executive Service, Director, AFSC Engineering & Technical Management Directorate; Lt Col Jake Elsass, Site Director, Engineering and Technical Management (Robins AFB).

Throughout the symposium, participants engaged in several oral and poster sessions, an NSF innovation engine panel and three roundtable breakout sessions. The panel was chaired by Alex Schwarzmann, the Dean of the School of Computer and Cyber Sciences at Augusta University, and consisted of the following industry and university leaders: Sean Barnes, Director of Planning and Outreach, Cyber Center of Excellence (Ft. Gordon); Jacob Cox, Solutions Architect & Augusta Site Lead, Trideum; Jon Dollan, President, Southeast Cyber Industry Association; Roy George, Chair of Department of Cyber-Physical Systems, Clark Atlanta University; Lindsay Roy, Group Leader of Cybersecurity and Threat Assessments, Savannah River National Lab; Matt Sherburne, DCO Division Chief, US Army Cyber Command; WenZhan Song, Chair Professor of ECE and Director of CCPS, University of Georgia; Eric Toler, Executive Director, Georgia Cyber Center; Frank Zahiri, Smart Manufacturing and Innovation Lead, Robins Air Force Base. The oral and breakout sessions explored three key topics of interest: AI and Machine Learning (facilitated by Tianming Liu, Guoyu Lu, and Qin Lu), Digital Twin (facilitated by Kyle Johnsen and Jin Ye), and Cyber Security (facilitated by Roberto Perdisci and Haijian Sun).

The mission of the UGA Center for Cyber-Physical Systems (CCPS) is to develop partnerships among academia, industry, and government on research and education in CPS, analytics, and security. As an interdisciplinary research center at UGA, the CCPS center is committed to advancing research and education in CPS and to transitioning CPS science and technology into engineering practice and real-world applications with lasting impact.

For more details about the event, including the full program, visit the symposium’s website. For photos, view the event photo album.

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