Paper presented at DACH Energy Informatics Conference 2022

Our colleagues Dejan Radovanovic and Andreas Unterweger presented the paper “How unique is weekly smart meter data?” at the DACH Energy Informatics Conference in Freiburg.
This paper is about the identification of a household based on the measured smart meter data. Just one week of measured data is enough to distinguish a few households from dozens of households. This distinction is important for data protection because an attacker could also link anonymised smart meter data with other data. Furthermore it is questionable that no special methodology was required for the analysis but only standard methods were used.

Center for Secure Energy Informatics: Successful handover in teaching and research

The appointment of Dominik Engel as managing director of the FH Salzburg shows the excellent work he has done in teaching and research in recent years. He hands over the very well-positioned area of Network and Security which is now managed by Judith Schwarzer.

Network and Security in Research
The research associated with this faculty is based at the Centre for Secure Energy Informatics (CSE). Now Günther Eibl has taken over these responsibilities.
The focus of Dominik Engel was primarily on the energy sector, where methods of data protection and security are applied and developed. The leadership function here passed to Günther Eibl who maintains this focus on energy informatics: for some months now he has also been project leader in the current research projects ECOSINT and PRISMATICS. Also some new projects are already in the pipeline.
While methods of security and data protection build a bridge to the faculty Network and Security the same applies to optimisation methods, predictive models and the faculty of mathematics and data analysis. The effects on quality teaching are evident: in addition to the further development of young researchers through dissertations, interesting master’s theses from research are continually advertised for two different faculties. In particular research ensures that the methods taught are up to date.

The autonomous Josef Ressel Centre for Dependable System-of-Systems Engineering – located in the ZSE – applies systems engineering methods to the application domains of smart grids, automotive, smart cities as well as industry 4.0. The centre management remains unchanged with Christian Neureiter.

Further information please find here.

Research work presented at ISGT 2022

This year’s IEEE Power & Energy Society Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT 2022) in New Orleans was an enormous success! In between engaging keynotes, interactive panels and the extensive T&D exhibition, there were many great opportunities to meet experts from academia and industry in person – after two years of online conferences, that is not something to take for granted.

Dominik Vereno, part of the research group DeSoS here at the CSE, presented his research work which he conducted together with Katharina Polanec and Christian Neureiter on model-based assessment of data quality. Anyone interested in Data Science by Design in Smart Grids should take a look at the preprint here.

Congratulations to FH-Prof. Priv.-Doz. Dr. Günther Eibl on his habilitation at the University of Innsbruck!

Already the second colleague from the Centre for Secure Energy Informatics has achieved the highest-ranking qualification in the Austrian university system. We congratulate Günther Eibl on the successful completion of his habilitation, the highest academic examination in which outstanding achievements in scientific research and teaching are demonstrated.
Günther Eibl wrote his habilitation thesis on “Methods for Data-Privacy: Privacy Analysis and Privacy Enhancing Technologies ” and dealt with methods and technologies for improving data protection. Günther Eibl developed these methods during his research work at the Centre for Secure Energy Informatics and applied them specifically in the area of future digitalised energy systems.
The storage, use and processing of personal data must always be related to a specific purpose (purpose limitation). If a company or a person is allowed to process personal data but processes this data for another purpose for which it was intended, this causes a data protection breach.
Therefore Günther Eibl investigated what could be done with the data apart from the intended purpose: specifically which private information can be elicited from consumption data measured with smart metering systems, so-called smart meters. The methods used for this come from the field of data analysis with a focus on visualisation, statistics, machine learning as well as problem-specific methods such as NILM (nonintrusive load monitoring), i.e. the use of machine learning methods for fully automatic analysis.
As a second focus Günther Eibl dealt with measures for the data protection principle of data minimisa-tion: how can only the necessary data be processed, such as the sum of the measured values of households, without having to disclose the individual basic data. The protocols used for this are based on (public key) cryptography, secure multiparty computation and statistics. In addition he dealt with often neglected formal evidences of the desired properties of these protocols, which also enable a comparison of protocols with regard to data protection.
Günther Eibl studied mathematics and physics at the University of Innsbruck. He wrote his dissertation in the field of machine learning, especially on boosting methods for multi-class problems. As a PostDoc at the Institute of Theoretical Physics he carried out numerical simulations of plasma. Then he moved to the private sector where he was mainly involved in statistical analysis and the application of machine learning methods.
Günther has been teaching and researching at the FH Salzburg since 2013. His teaching focuses on mathematics, statistics and basic methods in data science. At the Centre for Secure Energy Informatics he conducts research in the research area of data privacy.
Günther Eibl explains: “My research focus is data protection especially in the application domain of energy. The focus is on data and not on legal issues or regulations. On the one hand it is about analysing which private information can be obtained from transmitted energy data. The methods used for this are mainly in the areas of visualisation, statistics and artificial intelligence. On the other hand at the Centre for Secure Energy Informatics we are developing efficient protocols for data minimisation. In simplified terms this involves calculating with data without having to reveal the original data. By determining only the information necessary for the application – such as average values – systems can work despite compliance with data protection. For the development of these protocols, methods from cryptography are typically used. As a mathematician I’m also concerned with formally proving the properties of the methods developed.”
We warmly congratulate our colleague on the highest scientific degree and recognition of this outstanding achievement!

New colleague Lars-Kevin Klüver

We are pleased to welcome Lars-Kevin Klüver as a junior researcher at the Center for Secure Energy Informatics. Lars-Kevin is doing research work in the thematic area of IoT security and is team member of the research project “WhichWay” . The project deals with intelligent energy systems (IoT middleware platforms, security and privacy). Further information on the project here.

Welcome to the team!

Anton Fink Science Award for Artificial Intelligence

The excellent master thesis by Jonas Harb and Sarah Riedmann on the topic of “Adaptability and Robustness Analysis of a Deep Reinforcement Learning-based Supervisory Controller for Production Systems” was also honoured with the young talent award of the “Anton Fink Science Award for Artificial Intelligence“.

Jonas Harb is continuing his research as a junior researcher at the Josef Ressel Centre for Dependable System-of-Systems Engineering, part of the research group DeSos here at the CSE, and is currently working on how artificial intelligence can be trained in simulations of complex power grid systems using reinforcement learning methods.

Science Award #WIRSINDZUKUNFT

With the initiative #WirsindZukunft Salzburg AG promotes young talents and strengthens the further expansion of Salzburg as a science and business location. This year again 10 master or bachelor theses were awarded with the SALZBURG AG SCIENCE AWARD FOR TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION & SUSTAINABILITY.
Congratulations to this year’s award winners!
We are particularly pleased about the award for their innovative master theses of our master’s graduates from the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences:
Jonas Harb and Sarah Riedmann: “Adaptability and Robustness Analysis of a Deep Reinforcement Learning-based Supervisory Controller for Production Systems”.
Dominik Vereno: “Evaluating and improving model-based assessment of contextual data quality in smart grids”.

Dominik Vereno and Jonas Harb are currently doing research work at the Josef Ressel Centre for Dependable System-of-Systems Engineering on how to use reinforcement learning in a smart grid context. We are proud and happy with our colleagues about their personal successes, which are also a confirmation of the research work they have done!

Please find more about Dominik and Jonas here.

Science award for Clemens Brunner

With the Science Award 2021, the “Arbeiterkammer of Salzburg” supports students who dedicate themselves to new research questions to promote our society. 19 prizes in four categories were awarded. We are very pleased about the award of Clemens Brunner.

Until August 2021 Clemens was a researcher at the Center for Secure Energy Informatics and is now concentrating on growing his start-up sproof. In his dissertation, he dealt with “Decentralized Trust Management for Privacy-preserving Authentication in the Smart Grid”. The increasing number of different actors and exchanged messages and the trend towards decentralisation due to the integration of renewable energy sources poses new challenges for Smart Grid in the area of authentication. Insecure or deliberately manipulated communication channels increase the risk of an unstable energy grid. Worst case this can lead to a complete power failure. Centrally controlled trust management systems and authentication providers can no longer meet the requirements of decentralised infrastructures and therefore new solutions have to be developed. The dissertation addresses the question of how a practically usable blockchain-based trust network can be created to provide privacy-friendly authentication processes within the smart grid.

Also another two award winners completed their studies in Information Technology & Systems Management at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences.
Congratulations to:
Dr. Clemens Brunner, MSc BSc
Dipl. Ing. Philipp Grubmüller, BSc
Dipl. Ing. Mario Siller, BSc

Brief presentation of the award winners here.

Research projects in the field of Energy Communities

With the research project ECOSINT (Energy Community System Integration), an Austrian-wide consortium is providing valuable and practical research work to enable the efficient integration of Local Energy Communities (LECs) into the overall system. The consortium is led by the Center for Secure Energy Informatics.

You can find further research projects on the topic here.

Foto: FH Salzburg/fotolia/freepik – redgreystock
Foto: FH Salzburg/fotolia/freepik – redgreystock

Radio podcast it’s TALK: Career paths – from studies to science, to business, to start-ups

Digital signatures, privacy, IT security – our researcher Fabian Knirsch talks about his career and research at the Center for Secure Energy Informatics in the current radio podcast “it’s TALK”. He recently received a high six-figure investment for his start-up that deals with legally compliant digital signatures.
The podcast can be listened at https://its.fh-salzburg.ac.at/podcast.

Fabian Knirsch sproof