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Privacy in the Smart Grid: Two New Challenges

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  • Visitor Seminars
When Oct 25, 2011
from 04:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Where Maxwell Room 57-124, Engineering IV Building
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Dr. Lalitha Sankar
Princeton University


Two new privacy challenges in the smart grid are presented. First, at the transmission level
of the network, a novel problem of competitive privacy is introduced which captures the
conflicting interests of collaboration and competition amongst regional energy operators
(RTOs) that are interested in estimating the state in a distributed fashion. Second, at the
end-user level, the deployment of smart meters leads to the problem of managing the
tradeoff between guaranteed privacy to the consumer and utility (benefit) to both consumers
and electricity providers. Using the theory of rate distortion, a utility-privacy framework
is presented for both problems to quantify precisely the tradeoff between the utility of
either cooperating for distributed state estimation or using smart meters and the resulting
privacy leakage. The talk is based on joint work with Soummya Kar, Soheil Mohajer, S. Raj
Rajagopalan, Ravi Tandon, and H. Vincent Poor.


Lalitha Sankar received the B.Tech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay,
the M.S. degree from the University of Maryland, and the Ph.D degree from Rutgers University
in 2007. Prior to her doctoral studies, she was a Senior Member of Technical Staff at AT&T
Shannon Laboratories. Following her doctorate, Dr Sankar was a recipient of a three year
Science and Technology Teaching Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Council on Science and
Technology at Princeton University. She is currently a Research Scholar at Princeton University.
Her research interests include wireless communications, information privacy and secrecy,
and network information theory. For her doctoral work, she received the 2007-2008 Electrical
Engineering Academic Achievement Award from Rutgers University.


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