Ph.D. Candidate Xiang Huo

Electrical and computer engineering Ph.D. candidate and graduate research assistant, Xiang Huo, was recently awarded Best Student Paper at the 4th IEEE International Conference on Industrial Cyber-Physical Systems. He co-authored the winning paper, “A Novel Cryptography-Based Privacy-Preserving Decentralized Optimization Paradigm,” with ECE assistant professor Mingxi Liu

Huo also received the IEEE IES Young Professional Best 3-Minute Talk Award for a video he submitted demonstrating his research and was a Best Conference Paper finalist. 

“This research is very important. It is going to speed up the development of the smart grid as well as have social and financial benefits,” Huo said. “I’ve wondered if what I’m doing specifically is useful to our society and the research community though. This award has given me the confidence to continue my work.”

Large-scale optimization schemes currently rely on exchanging private information between agents and system operators to function optimally. This information, however, is left vulnerable to cyber-security threats as a consequence. This challenge exists across various applications, including economic dispatch in power systems, traffic congestion control in transportation systems, and distributed energy resource control in smart grids. 

Mingxi Liu Assistant Professor

Huo has developed a scalable, novel privacy-preserving optimization paradigm through synthesized cryptography and decentralized optimization techniques to address this issue. 

In time, Liu hopes that they will be able to work one on one with companies to integrate this privacy-preserving technology directly into their products. 

“As more devices become smart technologies, they will need to be able to communicate and if the industry cannot make them truly private, they should not be on the market, in my opinion,” said Liu. “My hope is that we are eventually able to expand this research and collaborate directly with these companies.”

Read Huo’s paper here and Watch his winning video submission here