CCI and Virginia Tech research team visit DC Water

CCI and Virginia Tech research team visit DC Water
A Virginia Tech team is working with DC Water on an entry into the 2022 Intelligent Water Systems Challenge. From left: CCI researcher and principal Investigator Feras Batarseh; Flora Haberkorn (a Virginia Tech computer science masters student), Ryu Suzuki (from DC Water); and team members Ajay Kulkarni, Nazmul Kabir Sikder, Mehmet Yardimci, Wan-Yi Mao. Photo by Feras Batarseh for CCI.
A Virginia Tech team led by a Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) researcher has moved to the final round of the prestigious national 2022 Intelligent Water Systems Challenge.

“Our entry shows how deep learning and AI Assurance can help keep something as essential as our water systems secure from the rising threat of cyber attacks while increasing operational efficiency,” said Feras A. Batarseh, a research associate professor at CCI and the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech team partnered with DC Water to develop a new, comprehensive three-way solution that uses cutting-edge AI models and data science technologies to:

  • Protect against cyber threats.
  • Predict water flow and levels.
  • Optimize energy efficiency and environmental safety.

“Water treatment facilities, by their dynamic nature and large scale, generate an immense flow of real-time data,” said Batarseh, principal investigator for the team. “Monitoring the data and interpreting the underlying hidden patterns in a timely manner is crucial for decision-making, adhering to environmental policies, and ensuring safe and secure operations at a facility.”

Others on the team include: 

“We are excited to be working with DC Water on an approach that could be used by other municipalities across the country,” Batarseh said.

The competition enters its final stage in mid-August. 

The Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) program, a joint effort of The Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF), is holding the fourth annual Intelligent Water Systems Challenge to demonstrate the value of intelligent water systems to utilities to foster the adoption of smart-water technologies. Princeton University and Clean Water Services of Oregon won last year’s challenge.

For more information, contact: Michele McDonald

Outside view of water treatment plant
The Environmental Protection Agency's website says, "The water sector can be a target of cybersecurity threats and hazards. Implementing cybersecurity best practices is critical for water and wastewater utilities."