NSF funds K-State research on artificial intelligence-based cyber-physical systems

Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 8:49 PM CST
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - The National Science Foundation is funding a K-State professor’s research on artificial intelligence-based cyber-physical systems.

Kansas State University says Pavithra Prabhakar, an associate professor and Peggy and Gary Edwards chair in engineering in its computer science department, has been awarded $450,000 from the National Science Foundation to work on artificial intelligence-based controllers in the 3-year long project titled, “Scalable Formal Verification of ANN Controlled Cyber-Physical Systems.”

According to K-State, artificial intelligence-based controllers are increasingly used for modern-day cyber-physical and autonomous systems like driverless cars. It said these systems have been called on to perform sophisticated functions and operate in dynamic environments. It said the use of such controllers in driverless cars is highly safety-critical, where the vehicle is expected to not only stay in the right lane but avoid accidents with other cars and pedestrians crossing roadways under different lighting conditions.

K-State said Prabhakar’s goal is to provide rigorous correctness guarantees of artificial intelligence-based controllers using foundational mathematical analysis techniques known as formal methods. It said the project will develop efficient algorithms that can analyze the systems by drastically reducing the size of the networks and representing them using a data structure called an interval neural network.

“The work is expected to lead to new mathematical insights and novel algorithms for rigorous analysis of artificial intelligence-based controllers,” Prabhakar said. “The resulting software tools will have the potential to push the boundary of scalability of existing design and analysis algorithms and tools for artificial intelligence-controlled cyber-physical systems to large-scale and complex networks.”

According to K-State, graduate and undergraduate students will be involved in the project as Prabhakar develops new courses dealing with artificial intelligence and cyber-physical systems, and expand the outreach activities to teaching robotic programming to K-12 students.

K-State said Prabhakar previously received support for work in cyber-physical and autonomous systems through an NSF CAREER Award and an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. It said the cutting edge foundational research in the project will continue propelling the university’s excellence in these areas.

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