Optimal Allocation of Interconnecting Links in Cyber-Physical Systems: Interdependence, Cascading Failures and Robustness

Osman Yagan, Dajun Qian, Junshan Zhang, Douglas Cochran

We consider a cyber-physical system consisting of two interacting networks, i.e., a cyber-network overlaying a physical-network. It is envisioned that these systems are more vulnerable to attacks since node failures in one network may result in (due to the interdependence) failures in the other network, causing a cascade of failures that would potentially lead to the collapse of the entire infrastructure. The robustness of interdependent systems against this sort of catastrophic failure hinges heavily on the allocation of the (interconnecting) links that connect nodes in one network to nodes in the other network. In this paper, we characterize the optimum inter-link allocation strategy against random attacks in the case where the topology of each individual network is unknown. In particular, we analyze the "regular" allocation strategy that allots exactly the same number of bi-directional inter-network links to all nodes in the system. We show, both analytically and experimentally, that this strategy yields better performance (from a network resilience perspective) compared to all possible strategies, including strategies using random allocation, unidirectional inter-links, etc.

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