Infrastructure Hardening: A Competitive Co-evolutionary Methodology Inspired by Neo-Darwinian Arms Races

Travis Service
Daniel R. Tauritz, Missouri University of Science and Technology
William M. Siever

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The world is increasingly dependent on critical infrastructures such as the electric power grid, water, gas, and oil transport systems, which are susceptible to cascading failures that can result from a few faults. Due to the combinatorial complexity in the search spaces involved, most traditional search techniques are inappropriate for identifying these faults and potential protections against them. This paper provides a computational methodology employing competitive coevolution to simultaneously identify low-effort, high-impact faults and corresponding means of hardening infrastructures against them. A power system case study provides empirical evidence that our proposed methodology is capable of identifying cost effective modifications to substantially improve the fault tolerance of critical infrastructures.