Public Release: 

Laying the foundation for smart and connected cities and communities

NSF issues 12 new awards in support of the Global City Teams Challenge

National Science Foundation


IMAGE: As part of the Global City Teams Challenge, Yan Wan from the University of North Texas is leading a group that is developing unmanned aerial vehicles capable of providing wireless... view more

Credit: NSF

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced 12 new projects--a commitment of $2.5 million--to help enable a vision for smart and connected cities and communities at a White House event today.

These awards support NSF-funded researchers at universities across the U.S. to participate in the 2015 Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC), an activity launched in 2014 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to showcase smart technologies with the potential to transform cities and communities around the world.

The NSF awards allow teams of researchers, often from multiple institutions, to develop novel approaches to effectively integrate networked computer systems and physical devices, with a focus on applications with potential to benefit to the public.

"Today's awards are built upon advances enabled by NSF's longstanding investments and leadership in fundamental research in computing and information science and engineering," said Jim Kurose, head of Computer and Information Science and Engineering at NSF. "Sophisticated networking capabilities and the tight integration of computation and physical systems has enabled today's smart systems. These new projects, and all the participants in the Global Cities Team Challenge, will help to realize the smart and connected communities of tomorrow."

The research projects announced today include efforts to provide network connectivity through Wi-Fi-enabled drones when communications are down; sense and manage urban air quality; enable autonomous vehicles for on-demand delivery and mobility; and authenticate devices on the Internet of Things.

NSF's investments through the Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) program have been particularly important in laying the foundation for smart city technology. The CPS program was established in 2008 to develop the principles, methodologies, and tools needed to integrate sensing, computation, control, and networking into physical objects and infrastructure.

Today, the CPS program includes the participation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Transportation, NASA, and the National Institutes of Health. Over the years, it has funded a portfolio of more than $250 million in research projects.

These investments have advanced fundamental knowledge across multiple application domains--public safety, transportation, and health, just to name a few--and have the potential to improve the quality of life in cities and communities across our nation and around the world.

The full list of projects follows:

Suman Banerjee, University of Wisconsin-Madison: Population Analytics through a Wi-Fi-based Edge Computing Platform

Charles Catlett, University of Chicago: Prototyping a Scalable and Evolvable Urban Sensing Platform for Smart Cities

Abhishek Dubey, Vanderbilt University: Experiments with Smart City Hubs: Integration Platform for Human Cyber-Physical Systems In Smart Cities

Subhashini Ganapathy, Wright State University: Intelligent Agent Incident Command System Augmentation

Manimaran Govindarasu, Iowa State University: Risk Modeling and Cyber Defense Exercise for Critical Infrastructures Security

Sertac Karaman, MIT: Autonomy-enabled Shared Vehicles for Mobility on Demand and Urban Logistics

Christoph Meinrenken, Columbia University: Advanced Peak Demand Forecast and Battery Dispatch Algorithms to Integrate Storage-based Demand Response with Building Automation Systems

Umit Ozguner, Ohio State University: A Unified Solution of Mixed Traffic Sensing, Tracking and Acceptable Active Accident Avoidance for On-Demand Automated Shuttles in a Smart City

Walid Saad, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: Fingerprinting for Internet of Things Authentication: Accelerating IoT Research and Education Under the Global City Teams Challenge

John Stankovic, University of Virginia: Detecting and Addressing Adverse Dependencies Across Human-in-the-Loop In-Home Medical Apps

Nalini Venkatasubramanian, University of California, Irvine: Exploring Resilience in SmartCity Water Infrastructure

Yan Wan, University of North Texas: Aerial Communication Infrastructure for Smart Emergency Response


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