Dr. Walid Saad presented a tutorial on Game-Theoretic Methods for Cyber-Physical Systems at the premier event on Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS Week)

Cyber-physical systems are characterized by four key features:

  • Heterogeneity, in terms of technology and services.

  • Dynamics, in terms of rapidly varying environments and uncertainty at both the cyber and physical realms.

  • Size, in terms of number of users, nodes, and services.

  • Cyber-physical vulnerabilities, that can stem from multiple cyber and physical entry points.

The need for smart, secure, and autonomic CPS system designs has become a central research issue in a variety of applications and scenarios. One example is next-generation smart grid systems in which a myriad of devices such as renewable energy sources, customer-owned storage units, and traditional generator units must be able to interact, co-exist, and self-adapt to uncertainties and time-varying environments. Another example is the Internet of things system, which will encompass a broad range of devices, of different capabilities, that must interact, operate, and control various cyber and physical operations. Incorporating self-organizing optimization capabilities along with smarter security solutions in heterogeneous CPSs motivates the development of innovative analytical techniques.

In this respect, game theory is expected to play a critical role towards deploying intelligent, distributed, and flexible cyber-physical systems in which devices, and possibly humans, can make independent and rational strategic decisions, smartly adapting to their environment. To this end, this tutorial will focus on the confluence of seemingly disparate disciplines: game theory, economics, and cyber-physical systems; while presenting the state of the art in this interdisciplinary area. In particular, this tutorial will provide a comprehensive introduction to game theory in its two branches: non-cooperative and cooperative games, as it applies to the design of future cyberphysical systems. We will also discuss new emerging types of games suitable for CPS, such as the use of games with bounded rationality and the impact of CPS user behavior on game-theoretic analysis. For each type of games, we present the fundamental components, introduce the key properties, mathematical techniques, solution concepts, and we describe the challenges and methods for applying game theory in two emerging CPS fields:

  1. The design and analysis of energy management solutions for the smart grid.

  2. The development of innovative security solutions for thwarting a variety of threats that target large-scale cyber-physical systems.

The tutorial concludes by shedding some light on future opportunities and challenges in this area.


Walid Saad (S'07, M'10, SM’15) received his Ph.D degree from the University of Oslo in 2010. Currently, he is the Steven O. Lane Junior Faculty Fellow and an Assistant Professor at the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. He leads the Network Science, Wireless, and Security (NetSciWiS) laboratory, within the Wireless@VT research group. His research interests include game theory, cyber-physical systems, security, and wireless communications. Dr. Saad is the recipient of the NSF CAREER award in 2013, the AFOSR summer faculty fellowship in 2014, and the Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in 2015. His research on CPS is funded by the National Science Foundation. He was the author/co-author of three conference best paper awards at WiOpt in 2009, ICIMP in 2010, IEEE WCNC in 2012, and IEEE PIMRC and IEEE SmartGridComm in 2015. He is the recipient of the 2015 Fred W. Ellersick Prize from the IEEE Communications Society Dr. Saad serves as an editor for the IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, IEEE Transactions on Communications, and IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security.

CPS Week is the premier event on Cyber-Physical Systems, Vienna, Austria, April 2016:


Posted on Apr 11, 2016