Laying the Foundation for Smart, Connected Cities and Communities


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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.

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 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.

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