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 CISE’s Important Role in Smart Cities Initiative

September 21st, 2015 / in Announcements, NSF, Research News / by Helen Wright

National Science Foundation (NSF) [credit: NSF]

National Science Foundation (NSF) Assistant Director for the Directorate of Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) James Kurose has issued the following letter to the community describing CISE’s role in the White House Smart Cities Initiative

Dear CISE Colleagues,

I’m sending you this note about the new Smart Cities Initiative that was announced last Monday by the White House.  NSF CISE and our CISE community have already been playing a crucially important role in laying the foundation for this initiative, which creates enormous opportunities for unlocking “smart” new solutions to improve the quality of life in cities and communities throughout the Nation.

Our community is also well positioned to continue to help lead this new initiative.  The deep integration of computation into physical devices, systems, and infrastructure, coupled with advanced networking capabilities, opens the door to transforming our cities and communities, including optimizing energy usage, reducing traffic congestion, improving access to education, and providing other critical services.

At a White House event last Monday, NSF’s Director, Dr. France Córdova, joined other federal science leaders, including the President’s Science Advisor, Dr. John Holdren, and U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Ms. Megan Smith, to help kick off the Smart Cities Initiative.  Dr. Córdova announced more than $35 million in new NSF smart cities-related grants including:

  • $12 million to support new research and infrastructure projects through the US Ignite program, including two awards to Mozilla Foundation and US Ignite, Inc., to foster “living labs” that will scale up next-generation Internet application prototypes in important public-sector areas such as healthcare, energy, education and learning, transportation, and public safety across our Nation’s cities and communities;
  • $10 million to support new Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) projects with emphases on Smart Cities and the Internet of Things;
  • $3 million to support a new Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) project called the Array of Things to the University of Chicago, which will be the first at-scale research infrastructure deployment enabling researchers to study an urban environment;
  • $2.5 million to enhance the design and operation of efficient, secure and Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes (CRISP) that provide essential goods and services in the context of cities and communities;
  • $2.5 million to enable NSF-funded researchers to participate in the National Institute of Standards and Technology Global Cities Team Challenge;
  • $2 million in new Smart and Connected Health (SCH) research projects to accelerate the development of next-generation health care solutions to enable patient-centered care and wellness that extend to the home, workplace, and community;
  • $375,000 to establish a Research Coordination Networks (RCN) to stimulate novel international research on how to integrate data from physical sensors, social media and other sources; and
  •  $4 million to support academic and industry partnerships through the Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) program that facilitate integration of breakthrough research discoveries into human-centered service systems, with an emphasis on emerging technologies that can contribute to smart cities/communities.

Beyond these investments, the cornerstone of NSF’s announcements was a new Dear Colleague Letter to accelerate fundamental research addressing challenges in enabling Smart and Connected Communities.  The Dear Colleague Letter is led by the CISE Directorate, and involves the participation of NSF’s Directorates for Education and Human Resources; Engineering; Geosciences; and Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences – a testament to the highly interdisciplinary nature of the research questions in this space, as well as NSF’s unique role in convening the breadth of the science and engineering community

Before I close, I want to acknowledge Erwin Gianchandani, CISE Acting Deputy Assistant Director, for his leadership of NSF’s Smart and Connected Communities efforts.

We look forward to continuing to work with the CISE community to realize the smart and connected communities of tomorrow.  I encourage you to review the White House Fact Sheet, NSF press release, and new Dear Colleague Letter, and also to stay tuned for details about an upcoming workshop series later this fall/winter that will help shape the fundamental, interdisciplinary research agenda in this space.

By working together, we will help enable new ways for how we work, learn, and interact with one another; cultivate an ecosystem of discovery, innovation, and sharing; and support transformational approaches for conducting interdisciplinary science and engineering that will change how we think of our cities and communities well into the future.


Assistant Director of NSF for Computer and Information Science and Engineering

The original announcements for the Smart Cities Initiative were described on the cccblog.  In addition, the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is preparing a community whitepaper on the Systems Computing Challenges in the Internet of Things, which has many applications in Smart Cities. It should be released soon, please stay tuned.

NSF CISE’s Important Role in Smart Cities Initiative