Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Computer Science

First Advisor

Milos Manic

Second Advisor

Preetam Ghosh

Third Advisor

Bridget McInnes

Fourth Advisor

Supathorn Phongikaroon

Fifth Advisor

Craig Rieger

Sixth Advisor

Ronald Boring


Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs) are the core of modern critical infrastructure (e.g. power-grids) and securing them is of paramount importance. Anomaly detection in data is crucial for CPS security. While Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) are strong candidates for the task, they are seldom deployed in safety-critical domains due to the perception that ANNs are black-boxes. Therefore, to leverage ANNs in CPSs, cracking open the black box through explanation is essential.

The main objective of this dissertation is developing explainable ANN-based Anomaly Detection Systems for Cyber-Physical Systems (CP-ADS). The main objective was broken down into three sub-objectives: 1) Identifying key-requirements that an explainable CP-ADS should satisfy, 2) Developing supervised ANN-based explainable CP-ADSs, 3) Developing unsupervised ANN-based explainable CP-ADSs.

In achieving those objectives, this dissertation provides the following contributions: 1) a set of key-requirements that an explainable CP-ADS should satisfy, 2) a methodology for deriving summaries of the knowledge of a trained supervised CP-ADS, 3) a methodology for validating derived summaries, 4) an unsupervised neural network methodology for learning cyber-physical (CP) behavior, 5) a methodology for visually and linguistically explaining the learned CP behavior.

All the methods were implemented on real-world and benchmark datasets. The set of key-requirements presented in the first contribution was used to evaluate the performance of the presented methods. The successes and limitations of the presented methods were identified. Furthermore, steps that can be taken to overcome the limitations were proposed. Therefore, this dissertation takes several necessary steps toward developing explainable ANN-based CP-ADS and serves as a framework that can be expanded to develop trustworthy ANN-based CP-ADSs.


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