George J. Pappas UPenn Pappas
Current Projects    |    Former Projects  


Distributed and Collaborative Intelligent Systems and Technology (ARL CRA DCIST


The Distributed and Collaborative Intelligent Systems and Technology Collaborative Research Alliance (CRA) will create Autonomous, Resilient, Cognitive, Heterogeneous Swarms that can enable humans to participate in wide range of missions in dynamically changing, harsh and contested environments. These include search and rescue of hostages, information gathering after terrorist attacks or natural disasters, and humanitarian missions. Swarms of humans and robots will operate as a cohesive team with robots preventing humans from coming in harms way (Force Protection) and extending and amplifying their reach to allow 1 human to do the work of 10 humans (Force Multiplication). Our research will create swarms that will provide on-demand services in these missions.  The team is led by the University of Pennsylvania and includes collaborators from Penn and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of California and University of Southern California.

The TerraSwarm Research Center (DARPA FCRP)


Over the past decade there has been increasing interest in the use of swarms of mobile sensors to help solve societal-scale problems. Sensor swarms, which can be wirelessly interconnected and deposit vast quantities of data in centralized repositories, offer an unprecedented ability to monitor and act on a range of evolving physical quantities. TerraSwarm applications are characterized by their ability to dynamically recruit re- sources such as sensors and data from the cloud, aggregate and use that information to make or aid decisions, and then dynamically recruit actuation resources – mediating their response by policy, security, and privacy concerns. The TerraSwarm Research Center (TSRC) aims to enable the simple, reliable, and secure deployment of advanced distributed sense-control-actuate applications on shared, massively distributed, heterogeneous, and mostly uncoordinated swarm platforms through an open and universal systems architecture.

Synthesis of Platform-aware Attack-Resilient Control Systems (DARPA HACMS)

Embedded systems form a ubiquitous, networked, computing substrate that underlies much of modern technological society. Such systems range from large supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems that manage physical infrastructure to medical devices such as pacemakers and insulin pumps, to computer peripherals such as printers and routers, to communication devices such as cell phones and radios, to vehicles such as airplanes and satellites. Such devices have been networked for a variety of reasons, including the ability to conveniently access diagnostic information, perform software updates, provide innovative features, lower costs, and improve ease of use. Researchers and hackers have shown that these kinds of networked embedded systems are vulnerable to remote security attacks, and such attacks can cause physical damage while hiding the effects from monitors. The goal of the HACMS program is to create technology for the construction of high-assurance cyber-physical control systems, where high assurance is defined to mean functionally correct and satisfying appropriate safety and security properties.

Security and Privacy-Aware Cyber-Physical Systems (NSF, Intel) - (Project page)

The project aims to achieve a comprehensive understanding of CPS-specific security and privacy challenges. This understanding will enable us to (1) develop techniques to prevent security attacks to CPS and to detect and recover from malicious attacks to CPS; (2) develop techniques for security-aware control design by develop attack resilient state estimator; (3) ensure privacy of data collected and used by CPS, and (4) establish an evidence-based framework for CPS security and privacy assurance, taking into account the operating context of the system and human factors.

Assuring the Safety, Security and Reliability of Medical Device Cyber Physical Systems (NSF CPS)

medical devices

The objective of this research is to establish a new development paradigm that enables the effective design, implementation, and certification of medical device cyber-physical systems. The approach is to pursue the following research directions: 1) to support medical device interconnectivity and interoperability with network-enabled control; 2) to apply coordination between medical devices to support emerging clinical scenarios; 3) to close the loop and enable feedback about the condition of the patient to the devices delivering therapy; and 4) to assure safety and effectiveness of interoperating medical devices. Novel design methods and certification techniques will significantly improve patient safety. The introduction of closed-loop scenarios into clinical practice will reduce the burden that caregivers are currently facing and will have the potential of reducing the overall costs of health care.

Micro Autonomous Systems & Technology (ARL CTA MAST)


The Micro Autonomous Systems Technologies (MAST) consists of four research centers focusing on microsystem mechanics, microelectronics, autonomous operations, and systems integration. The objective of the consortium is to develop autonomous, collaborative ensembles of agile, mobile microsystems to enhance tactical situational awareness in urban and complex terrain for small unit operations. The University of Pennsylvania is leading in the autonomous operation research center. Our emphasis is on processing for autonomous operations, which will provide the fundamental underpinnings for autonomous operation of distributed, mobile, multi-modal sensing micro-systems.