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  Digital Twin for cyber secure energy management for smart buildings


   School of Computer Science

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  Dr Zoya Pourmirza, Prof Aad van Moorsel  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Digital Twins are virtual representation of physical system that integrates two-way data and control flow between the cyber model and a physical system, where a change in one system can make changes in the other system. Digital twins have diverse applications, for example they can play a critical role in managing energy consumptions of smart buildings, by providing real-time data and insight into the building and applying predictive fault detection and maintenance and implementing corrective and predictive control. By integrating data from sensors, smart devices, and meters into the Digital Twin, we can simulate various scenarios, analyse energy consumption pattern, and provide energy saving recommendations and actions.

In this PhD project we would like to explore if Federated Digital Twins can provide a secure platform for energy management in smart buildings, and how they can offer most energy-efficient operating condition of energy devices in a building including heating, cooling, and lightning, while taking into account factors such as occupancy pattern, weather forecast, available energy is case of having renewable installed for the building, battery capacity in case of having energy storage facilities, and energy prices. This Digital Twin platform will be a federated digital platforms by coupling various systems such as building energy management, smart meters, and other smart home assistant platforms (e.g. Alexa).

The envisioned federated digital twin can offer benefits for smart building residents, building owners, and energy suppliers by reducing energy cost, balancing energy consumption and production, and enhancing sustainability. However, this platform could suffer from lack of cyber security measures and being a target of cyber-attacks and revealing personal data. Since they collect and process sensitive data about occupant behaviour, building systems, and energy usage, designing and implementing cyber security measures for such platform is of critical importance, which can protect data from unauthorized access, theft, manipulation, and ensures system integrity, while building trust among stakeholders.

The PhD will be jointly supervised by Professor Aad van Moorsel, the Head of School of Computer of Computer Science and Chair in Decentralised Systems, and Dr Zoya Pourmirza, Academic Director of Smart Systems and Senior Research Fellow at the School of Computer Science. The successful applicant will start their studies in September 2024. 

Computer Science (8) Engineering (12) Information Services (20)

Funding Notes

Scholarships include tuition fee waivers plus an annual maintenance allowance of £18,622, for eligible domestic and international students. The allowance is paid as a tax-free stipend and its rate is usually incremented on 1 October each following year.
Further information:
https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/computer-science/postgraduate-research/applying-for-phd-in-computer-science.aspx

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