Projects: Flow-based Cyber-Physical Systems

Flow-based systems (FBSs) are physical systems, such as water distribution systems (WDS), oil & gas pipelines, and human cardiovascular system, that can be modeled as a flow network in which a fluid, e.g., water, oil or blood, flows through the edges of the network. In this project, we study different FBSs using a Cyber-Physical Systems approach. A generic architecture for flow-based CPS is as shown below.

Cyber-Physical Water Distribution Systems

Water Distribution Systems (WDSs) are vulnerable to attacks that can potentially have severe health and economic impacts (e.g., identifying leakages in a water distribution systems is a critical problem, and detecting leaks in early stages avoid the risk of major pipe breaks and flooding). Monitoring WDSs to identify these attacks continuously is of paramount importance.

We propose to solve the problem of WDS monitoring through a Cyber-Physical system (CPS) approach. We envision a Cyber-Physical Water Distribution System (CPWDS) with mobile sensors that are deployed in the CPWDS and move with the flow of water in pipes; mobile sensors communicate with static beacons placed outside the pipes and report sensed data; the flows in the pipes are controlled to ensure that the sensors continuously cover the main pipes of the WDSs. The system design is as shown in the figure.

Drug Delivery Systems

Drug propagation through the human circulatory system resembles the movement of sensors in other flow-based systems. In this work, we apply flow-based CPS concepts to drug delivery systems using nanoparticles in human circulatory systems. We use a graph representation of the human circulatory system as shown in the figure as the underlying physical system. We are currently working on the optimization of injection points to deliver a desired amount of drug to a target organ while avoiding certain organs.

Oil & Gas Exploration

In oil/gas exploration, a fluid (mostly water) is introduced into a oil/gas well. Oil/gas flows through a production well. The fluid flows through the fractures in the reservoir, forming a flow-based system. We are currently working on the optimization of injection and production well placement for conventional oil/gas exploration.

Current Members


  • Dr. Amin Rasekh (Post-Doc)
  • Prof. M. Katherine Banks (TAMU faculty, collaborator)
  • Prof. Prabir Barooah (UFL faculty, collaborator)
  • Prof. Mohan Kumar (IISc faculty, collaborator)
  • Prof. Emily Zechman (UNC faculty, collaborator)
  • Prof. Basem Shihada (KAUST faculty, collaborator)
  • Dr. Lidia Smith (Blinn College faculty, collaborator)


  • Weijiao Gong (PhD student)


  • W. Gong, M. A. Suresh, L. Smith, A. Ostfeld, R. Stoleru, A. Rasekh, M. K. Banks ``Mobile Sensor Networks for Optimal Leak and Backflow Detection and Localization in Municipal Water Networks'', in Environmental Modelling & Software, June 2016
  • M.A. Suresh, W. Zhang, W. Gong, R. Stoleru, A. Rasekh, M. K. Banks, ``Towards Optimal Monitoring of Flow-based Systems using Mobile Wireless Sensor Networks'', in ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks, Volume 11, Issue 3, May 2015
  • M. A. Suresh, U. Manohar, Anjana G. R, R. Stoleru, M. Kumar. M. S., ``A cyber-physical system for continuous monitoring of Water Distribution Systems,'' in the 10th IEEE International Conference on Wireless and Mobile Computing, Networking and Communications (WiMob 2014)
  • M. A. Suresh, L. Smith, A. Rasekh, R. Stoleru, M. K. Banks, B. Shihada, ``Mobile Sensor Networks for Leak and Backflow Detection in Water Distribution Systems,'' in the 28th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Information Networking and Applications (AINA 2014)
  • M.A. Suresh, R. Stoleru, E. Zechman, B. Shihada, "On Event Detection and Localization in Acyclic Flow Networks," accepted, to appear in IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics: Part A: Systems, 2013.
  • M.A. Suresh, R. Stoleru, R. Denton, E. Zechman, and B. Shihada, ``Towards optimal event detection and localization in acyclic flow networks,'' in the 13th International Conference on Distributed Computing and Networking (ICDCN 2012)

Source Code Releases

  • The simulation code will be released as we develop it. Please email Project Lead for details.