Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

NSF, Intel Labs Partner on Cyber-Physical Systems Security and Privacy

June 6th, 2014 / in Uncategorized / by Helen Wright

The following is a special contribution to this blog by Keith Marzullo, division director for the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Computer and Network Systems (CNS).

nsf_logo_new_transparentThe National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) and Intel Labs recently announced a new partnership to support novel, transformative, multidisciplinary approaches that address the problem of securing current and emerging cyber-physical systems, the infrastructures they form, and those integrated with them. A key goal of this activity is to foster a long-term research community committed to advancing research and education at the confluence of cybersecurity, privacy, and cyber-physical systems, and to transitioning its findings into engineering practice. The partnership aims to combine NSF’s experience in developing and managing successful large, diverse research portfolios with Intel’s long history of building research communities in emerging technology areas through efforts such as its Science and Technology Centers Program.

From the joint NSF/Intel solicitation on cyber-physical systems security and privacy:

Cyber-physical systems are engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computational algorithms and distributed physical components. Unlike small, single-sourced embedded systems, modern cyber-physical systems incorporate components from different providers using explicit interface standards that specify communication protocols, physical operation characteristics, real-time sensing and human operators informed by real-time data from the cyber-physical sensors. The trend towards distribution (and the concomitant need for interface standards, comprehensive component status and coordination) has recently accelerated as these systems have been employing the “Internet of Things” as a backbone. Entire system analysis is critical for security: integrity and conformance to expected behavior of computing devices controlling physical systems; assurance of software components; integrity and reliability of communications; effective, secure control in centralized systems like cloud services managing cyber-physical infrastructure; and appropriate social infrastructure to ensure adoption and use.


Proposals are sought for multidisciplinary teams to make significant contributions to enable secure cyber-physical systems. The aim is to refine an understanding of the key technical, social and legal issues at stake, to understand the range of technical issues affecting hardware and software in infrastructure components, as well as the integration of such systems. This solicitation affords researchers an opportunity to collaborate actively with Intel, potentially resulting in a strong ecosystem partner for implementing and adopting technology solutions as appropriate.

To achieve the goal of fostering a community of researchers at the intersection of cyber-physical systems and cybersecurity and privacy, the program includes an Ideas Lab to be held in the Greater Washington, DC, area on Aug. 12-16, 2014. Specifically:

The Ideas Lab process entails participation in an intensive five-day residential workshop, including the development of multidisciplinary collaborative proposals through a real-time and iterative review process. The Ideas Lab process was modeled on the “IDEAs Factory” program developed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) of the United Kingdom. The concept of the IDEAs Factory program is to organize intensive interactive multidisciplinary workshops (“Sandpits”) involving 20-30 participants, with the aim of developing new and bold approaches to address grand challenge questions for topics that could benefit from a new dimension in thinking…


Interested PIs should respond to this solicitation by submitting preliminary proposals (see Preliminary Proposal Preparation Instructions) to apply for participation in the Ideas Lab activity…Each potential participant must submit a preliminary proposal (1 preliminary proposal per person); no Co-PIs are permitted on the preliminary proposals. Proposals are limited to 2 pages and must be submitted through Fastlane. Between 20 and 30 participants will be selected on the basis of their interests and expertise as it relates to the goals of this activity, as described in their submitted preliminary proposals. Participants should be willing to engage in frank disclosure and assessment of ideas in a collegial and professional fashion. NSF program staff, in collaboration with partners from Intel, will assemble a team of mentors and provocateurs, selected for their relevant expertise, as well as professional facilitators to aid the workshop participants in the discussion of workshop topics and development of project ideas.

The joint solicitation calls for Synergy proposals, to be funded jointly by NSF and Intel at up to $1 million per year over three years, that:

take a holistic view of the challenges in protecting cyber-physical systems but also the human factors, policies, and economics of the future CPS marketplace. The larger award size is intended to enable more ambitious multidisciplinary exploration.

These proposals should pursue the development of a systems perspective and drive toward demonstrations of interrelated component research ideas that will in turn serve as a call to action by the broader CPS innovation ecosystem.

In addition, the solicitation includes a track for Breakthrough proposals, to be funded by NSF at up to $500,000 total over three years. These proposals should foster:

 the collaboration of at least two PIs representing the cybersecurity and privacy as well as cyber-physical systems communities.

Preliminary proposals for participation in the Aug. 12-16 Ideas Lab are due via FastLane by July 29, 2014; full proposals must be received by Oct. 28, 2014. Participation in the Ideas Lab is not required for full proposals that were not developed through the Ideas Lab.

To learn more about the new NSF/Intel partnership, please review the full solicitation.

NSF, Intel Labs Partner on Cyber-Physical Systems Security and Privacy