Wireless Information Technology
and Networks

Program Announcement

NSF 99-68

A joint initiative between:
Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering
Directorate for Engineering

In cooperation with
Division of International Programs

Deadline Date: April 30, 1999, 5:00 PM (local time)

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION


INTRODUCTION

The coming generation of tetherless (terrestrial wireless and satellite) communications technology promises a leap forward in information accessibility with an attendant increase in economic yield similar to that stimulated by the Internet in the 1990s. Researchers face many technical challenges, but data rates of tens of megabits per second (enabling broadband Internet access, for example) are apparently a realizable goal early in the 21st century. In just 20 years, wireless personal communications services have grown from a vague concept to an important global telecommunications service with over 300 million subscribers, or 40% of the World's installed wired telephone base. Current trends point to a revolution in wireless mobile information technology within the next couple of decades that will completely modify the way we work, learn, play, seek services, and purchase products, providing complete freedom of location to the individual. Clearly, this mobile component of the information infrastructure (i.e., the interconnected series of telecommunications networks and computer based services) will continue to develop in importance as people demand more and more flexibility in their day-to-day activities, whether work or recreation related, as we move into the 21st century.

The great demand for Internet services, wireless cable television distribution, and information technology makes the development of broadband wireless mobile communications systems a national imperative. In the early 1980s, Europe initiated a unified effort by its university, industry, and government constituencies to define and develop future-generation wireless systems. A tangible result of this unified approach is that in 1998 far more subscribers used Europe’s Global System for Mobile Communications wireless standard than any other wireless mobile system. A unified approach to research and development of future-generation wireless systems by the U.S. clearly should be an urgent priority in order to compete in a world-wide wireless market that is expected to grow to 700 million subscriber units by 2002.1

In order to build an underlying science and technology base that enables further wireless mobile communications advances and applications, the National Science Foundation encourages proposals for research projects in wireless information technology and networks. It is expected that under this initiative, depending on the quality of the proposals received, ten to fifteen awards will be made typically ranging from $100,000 to $300,000 per year for periods of up to three years. In exceptional cases, awards for up to five years or up to $500,000 per year may be made if the justification and promise are compelling.

 

BACKGROUND

Third Generation Wireless Mobile Communication Systems and Beyond

First-generation wireless mobile communication systems, introduced in the early 1980s, and second-generation (2G) systems, fielded in the late 1980s, were intended primarily for voice transmission. Third-generation (3G) systems, to be introduced in the early 2000s, will offer considerably higher data rates and allow significantly increased flexibility over 2G systems. A feature of 3G wireless mobile systems will be to provide this wide variety of services ranging from voice and paging services to interactive multimedia, including teleconferencing and Internet access through a coordinated or transparent system concept — by fixed wireline where that is most efficient, by terrestrial wireless where required, and even by satellite wireless when necessary. The currently proposed 3G systems will, for the most part, not achieve this coordinated system vision or Global seamless roaming, leaving these as goals for fourth generation (4G) and beyond.

Projection beyond 3G wireless mobile systems naturally leads to the consideration of yet wider bandwidths and higher data rates. However, higher data rates will not necessarily provide additional overall capacity for a number of reasons. First, it is by no means clear how system resources should be managed to accommodate the wide mix of traffic types anticipated. Second, power limitations preclude high data rates over geographically large areas, and a hierarchy of cell structures or ad hoc wireless networks to accommodate those users desiring high data-rate services will be necessary. Third, because of the variability of wideband channels and the need to realize the maximum inherent diversity possible, joint adaptivity across several hierarchical layers is necessary, and an integrated research approach is important to resolve the technical tradeoffs. Fourth, in contrast to purely wireline networks, scalability, or the ability to handle increasing numbers of users and diversity of services, is more challenging with mobile networks. A scalable information infrastructure is clearly essential in any future interconnected information system.2

It appears reasonable to expect an extension of the capacity of 3G wireless systems by at least an order of magnitude with 4G systems and beyond.3 The focus of this initiative is to address fundamental research issues, which are critical to these future generation wireless systems. Several attendant benefits and applications of this increased capacity are outlined below.

Potential Applications of 4G Wireless Mobile Systems

Advanced features of wireless mobile systems, including data rates compatible with multimedia applications, global roaming capability, and coordination with other network structures, will enable applications not possible with current and previous wireless mobile systems such as:

(a) Virtual navigation: A remote database contains the graphical representation of streets, buildings, and physical characteristics of a large metropolis. Blocks of this database are transmitted in rapid sequence to a vehicle, where a rendering program permits the occupants to visualize the environment ahead. They may also "virtually" see the internal layout of buildings to plan an emergency rescue, or to plan visits to possible points of interest.

(b) Tele-medicine: The paramedic assisting the victim of a traffic accident in a remote location must access medical records (e.g., x-rays) and may need video conference assistance from a surgeon for an emergency intervention. In fact, the paramedic may need to relay back to the hospital the victim's x-rays taken locally.

(c) Tele-geoprocessing applications: The combination of geographical information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), and high-capacity wireless mobile systems will enable a new type of application referred to as tele-geoprocessing. Queries dependent on location information of several users, in addition to temporal aspects have many applications.

(d) Crisis-management applications: These arise, for example, as a result of natural disasters where the entire communications infrastructure is in disarray. Restoring communications quickly is essential. With wideband wireless mobile communications, limited and even total communications capability, including internet and video services, could be set up in hours instead of days or even weeks required for restoration of wireline communications.

(e) Education via the internet: educational opportunities available on the internet, both for K-12 pupils and individuals interested in life-long education, will be unavailable to clientele living in thinly populated or remote areas because of the economic unfeasibility of providing wideband wireline internet access in these areas. Wideband wireless communications provides a cost-effective alternative in these situations.

These areas illustrate applications for wideband mobile communications systems. Proposers are encouraged to suggest their own applications while still keeping the emphasis on basic multidisciplinary integrative research.

 

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Significant advances in basic research to provide a foundation for designing high information-capacity wireless communication systems for full mobility will require synergistic, multidisciplinary research efforts encompassing a breadth of communications functions from the physical through application layers. Such research would be expected to lead to breakthroughs enabling future wireless networks to be flexible, scalable to large numbers of users, able to provide location information of mobile users on a global scale, eavesdropper proof, coordinated with wireline and other networks, dynamically adaptable with demand, and able to provide guaranteed service while accommodating mixed traffic representing varied applications.

RESEARCH AREAS IN SYSTEM DESIGN AND APPLICATIONS AT THE PHYSICAL AND UPPER LAYERS

Proposals for research to investigate system design approaches and principles addressing the unique requirements and characteristics of future high throughput, mixed traffic, highly mobile communication systems are encouraged. Example areas for consideration include, but need not be limited to, network topologies for supporting integrated services, adaptive data flow at the physical and higher layers, joint optimization of multiple adaptive subsystems, dynamic resource allocation schemes, means for exploiting mobile/base unit asymmetry, security/privacy across the layers (physical through applications), and dynamic support for quality of service.

Other issues that are important to consider include methods for realizing the inherent diversity of temporally and spatially varying channels (such as space-time processing, smart antennas, etc.), optimization techniques for statistical channel models applicable to wideband signals, network protocols that adapt dynamically to changing channel conditions, protocols that allow the coexistence of low- and high-rate users, hand-off of high-data-rate users between base stations, congestion-control algorithms that are cognizant of and adjust to changing channel conditions, and coordination of adaptation across layers.

Finally, it is important to consider the interplay between high-capacity wireless networks and wireless mobile information systems. Such applications include, but are not limited to, ubiquitous information processing, virtual collaboration and visualization, semantic routing for information discovery, protocols for content/capability adaptation, application and system adaptability to network bandwidth variability (e.g., error rates in transition and handoffs, fault tolerance and recovery, query optimization, management of power limitations, transaction management, and security), ability to continue operation during disconnection (e.g., via caching), smart push/pull techniques based on user profiles using multicast network protocols and mixed bandwidth links, and seamless environments for remote sensing, including use of GIS and GPS.

RESEARCH AREAS IN WIRELESS ELECTRONICS AND DEVICES

INTEGRATIVE AND MULTIDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS

Only research proposals that address the broad aspects of future-generation wireless mobile systems should be submitted in response to this announcement. Research proposals that promote a unifying framework and overall systems approach are encouraged. Proposals that address specific research issues, rather than the integrated efforts that this announcement is aimed at, should be sent to the attention of the cognizant program officer listed in this announcement or on the NSF web site of the appropriate NSF Directorate. For such proposals, please note the appropriate due dates listed.

Proposals should identify the main theme of the proposed research and supporting technologies, and the potential impact of the proposed integrative approach on the overall performance of a wireless system. Cooperative activities among academia, industry, and national laboratories as well as the use of shared facilities and international collaborations are encouraged. Proposals should also address and clearly describe the educational benefits resulting from the proposed research activities and discuss effective ways in which education is integrated with the research program.

 

INQUIRIES

For further information on the "System Design and Applications at the Physical and Upper Layers" activities for support, see the list of CISE program officers under Contacts for Additional Information at the end of this announcement.

For further information on the "Wireless Electronics and Device Research Areas" see the list of ENG program officers under Contacts for Additional Information .

For further information on the "Integrative and Multidisciplinary Research Areas" contact program officers from either list, depending on the focus of the activity being proposed.

For further information on opportunities for support of international collaboration in relation to the topics of this announcement, please contact program officers from the Division of International Programs under Contacts for Additional Information.

 

ELIGIBILITY

Proposals may be submitted by individual investigators or small groups from academic institutions. Synergistic collaboration among researchers and collaboration or partnerships with industry or government are encouraged when appropriate. Group proposals and collaborative proposals involving more than one academic institution should include a discussion of the proposed management plan and must be submitted according to guidelines as described in the "Instructions for Proposals Preparation and Submission" section of this program announcement.

 

AWARD INFORMATION

Under this program, NSF expects proposals for funding amounts typically in the range of $100,000 to $300,000 per year for three years, and expects to make grants at a variety of award sizes appropriate to the technical scope and level of effort required. NSF expects to fund approximately 10-15 standard three-year research awards, depending on the quality of submissions and the availability of funds. In exceptional cases, awards for up to five years, or up to $500,000 per year may be considered if the justification and promise are compelling. Approximately $7 million will be available for this initiative in FY 1999. Awards are expected to be made by September, 1999.

 

PROPOSAL PREPARATION & SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

Proposal Preparation Instructions

Proposals in response to this program announcement should follow the general guidelines contained in the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG), NSF 99-2, available electronically on the NSF Web site at
http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gpg.

Proposals must be prepared and submitted electronically via the FastLane system
http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov. Instructions in its use may be accessed directly at http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For further information, you may contact FastLane user support services (tel: 703-306-1142; fastlane@nsf.gov).

To access the FastLane Proposal Preparation application the principal investigator (PI) must contact his/her institution’s Sponsored Research Office (SRO), or equivalent, to obtain a FastLane Personal Identification Number (PIN). PIs who have not submitted a proposal to NSF in the past must contact their SRO to be added to the NSF PI database. This should be done as soon as the decision to prepare a proposal is made.

On the FastLane Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207), enter the designation NSF 99-68 in the field labeled "Program Announcement" and check the box labeled "Group Proposals." For EPSCoR-certified proposals, write EPSCoR on the top right corner of the signed original and include the signed certification form (NSF Form 1404) with the cover pages.

Page limitation guidelines as discussed in GPG will be adhered to, with the following exceptions: Project Description for Group proposals shall be limited to 15 pages, including the management plan. The PI and Co-PIs may include a maximum of 2 pages each on Results from Prior NSF Support, which will not count towards the project description page limit. Letters of commitment from partnering organizations will not count towards the page limit and must be included in electronic form in the FastLane proposal submission.

An Appendix to the proposal of one or two pages will be allowed to describe the details of any proposed international collaborations. The Appendix should be clearly labeled and included at the back of the project description PDF file (it will not be included in the project description page count. It should include major foreign collaborators (provide biographical sketches in Section E), the objective of the collaboration, and the added benefit it would bring to the research project. A plan of foreign visits and identification of who will travel should be included in the budget justification section. No other Appendices to the proposal are permitted, and proposals submitted with such will be returned without review.

For purposes of information retrieval, please include in the Project Summary up to six representative technical keywords capturing the issues addressed in the proposal.

Multi-institutional collaborative proposals shall require simultaneous submission via FastLane of proposals by each of the participating academic institutions. One institution takes the lead serving as the primary institution, but all institutions are required to submit their own proposals to NSF. All proposals should contain the same body of material (within page limitations discussed above) that describes the proposed research, including discussion of the benefits of the multi-institutional collaboration, tasks and responsibilities for each institution, resources available, and project management plan. The same Project Title should be used on each submission and the Project Summary should identify the collaborating institutions. The Budget section in each proposal should include the specific budget for the submitting institution. At the end of the Budget Justification PDF file include an overall cumulative budget for all collaborating institutions showing the total amount requested for the project.

Before the lead institution submits its proposal, each collaborative institution should notify the lead institution of its temporary proposal number so that the lead institution can link the proposals within FastLane. This is accomplished by selecting the "Link Collaborative Proposals" option on the Form Selector screen. When submitting the signed Cover Sheet (Form 1207), please include a cover letter alerting NSF that the submitted proposal is a jointly submitted multi-institutional proposal and specify the proposal title, with all proposal numbers, institutions, and principal investigators.

Proposal Due Dates

Proposals must be submitted to NSF via FastLane no later than 5:00 PM, local time at the submitting institution, on April 30, 1999.

The signed proposal Cover Sheet (and EPSCoR Form 1404, if applicable) must be forwarded to the address below and received at NSF by May 7, 1999.

National Science Foundation
DIS-FastLane Cover Sheet: NSF 99-68
4201 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22230

A proposal may not be processed until the complete proposal, including signed Cover Sheet, has been received by NSF.

 

PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION

A. Merit Review Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated in accordance with the general NSF merit review criteria (see Appendix 1) and must emphasize the specific goals of this program as described in the Program Description section. In addition, the following specific criteria for this announcement will be used: (a) Focus on integrative approaches that address multiple aspects and utilize synergy among the various components of this highly interdisciplinary technology; (b) Contribution to fundamental science and engineering principles underlying architectures and implementation of new wireless systems; (c) Management plan for coordination within the proposing group and, as appropriate, with national laboratories, centers, international collaborators, and industry partners, so as to take advantage of complementary technical strengths; (d) Soundness and openness of the information/results-sharing plan and management of intellectual property rights; and (e) Innovative aspects of the educational component and inclusion of effective ways in which education is integrated with and will benefit from the research program.

B. Merit Review Process

The proposal evaluation process will involve multidisciplinary review panels to determine intrinsic merit and broad impact. The review process will be coordinated by a working group of NSF program officers (see Contacts for Additional Information below).

 

AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

Information discussing award administration requirements may be found in the Grant Proposal Guide (see Chapter VII), at http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gpg.

Grants awarded as a result of this announcement will be administered in accordance with the terms and conditions of NSF GC-1, "Grant General Conditions," or FDP-III, "Federal Demonstration Partnership General Terms and Conditions," depending on the grantee organization. More comprehensive information on the administration of NSF grants is contained in the Grant Policy Manual (NSF 95-26), available electronically through the NSF home page.

PIs must submit annual project reports to the cognizant program officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period. Upon completion of the project, a final project report is also required (see GPG, Chapter VII.G). NSF has implemented a new electronic Project Reports System through FastLane, which permits electronic submission and updating of project reports, including information on: project participants, activities and findings, publications, and other specific contributions. NSF expects to require electronic submission of all annual and final project reports via FastLane beginning in October 1999. See http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov for reporting instructions.

 

CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Questions concerning this joint program announcement should be addressed, preferably via e-mail, to the following NSF program officers in the Wireless Technology Working Group:

COMPUTER AND INFORMATION SCIENCE & ENGINEERING DIRECTORATE

Dr. John Cozzens
jcozzens@nsf.gov
Signal Processing Systems Program,
Division of Computer-Communications Research

Dr. Darleen L.Fisher
dlfisher@nsf.gov
Special Projects in Networking Program,
Division of Advanced Networking Infrastructure and Research

Dr.Maria Zemankova
mzemanko@nsf.gov
Information and Data Management Program,
Division of Information, and Intelligent Systems

Dr. Rodger Ziemer
CISE contact for Cross-Directorate Projects
rziemer@nsf.gov
Communications Research Program,
Division of Computer-Communications Research

ENGINEERING DIRECTORATE

Dr. Magdy F. Iskander
ENG contact for Cross-Directorate Projects
miskande@nsf.gov
Electrical and Communications Systems Division

Dr. Lawrence S. Goldberg
lgoldber@nsf.gov
Electrical and Communications Systems Division

DIVISION OF INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS

Dr. Larry Weber
lweber@nsf.gov

Dr. Mark Suskin
msuskin@nsf.gov

 

OTHER PROGRAMS OF INTEREST

The NSF Guide to Programs is a compilation of funding opportunities for research and education in science, mathematics, and engineering. General descriptions of NSF programs, research areas, and eligibility information for proposal submission are provided in each chapter. The NSF Guide to Programs is available electronically at http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gpg. Many NSF programs offer announcements concerning specific proposal requirements. To obtain additional information about these requirements, contact the appropriate NSF program offices listed in Appendix A of the GPG.

 

OTHER INFORMATION

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Grantees are wholly responsible for conducting their project activities and preparing the results for publication. Thus, the Foundation does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation.

NSF welcomes proposals from all qualified scientists, engineers and educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to compete fully in its programs. In accordance with federal statutes, regulations, and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NSF (unless otherwise specified in the eligibility requirements for a particular program).

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities (investigators and other staff, including student research assistants) to work on NSF-supported projects. See the program announcement or contact the program coordinator at (703) 306-1636.

The National Science Foundation has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation regarding NSF programs, employment, or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 306-0090 or through FIRS on 1-800-877-8339.

 

PRIVACY ACT AND PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENTS

The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the review process; to applicant institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies needing information as part of the review process or in order to coordinate programs; and to another Federal agency, court or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 267 (January 5, 1998), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 268 (January 5, 1998). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.

Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding this burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Reports Clearance Officer; Information Dissemination Branch, DAS; National Science Foundation; Arlington, VA 22230.

 

YEAR 2000 REMINDER

In accordance with Important Notice No. 120 dated June 27, 1997, Subject: Year 2000 Computer Problem, NSF awardees are reminded of their responsibility to take appropriate actions to ensure that the NSF activity being supported is not adversely affected by the Year 2000 problem. Potentially affected items include: computer systems, databases, and equipment. The National Science Foundation should be notified if an awardee concludes that the Year 2000 will have a significant impact on its ability to carry out an NSF funded activity. Information concerning Year 2000 activities can be found on the NSF web site at http://www.nsf.gov/oirm/y2k/start.htm.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance category
47.041 – Engineering
47.070 - Computer and Information Science and Engineering
47.075 – Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences

 

APPENDIX 1: MERIT REVIEW CRITERIA

Proposals will be reviewed in accordance with the two revised merit review criteria established by the National Science Board, listed below. Following each criterion are suggested potential considerations that the reviewer may employ in the evaluation. Each reviewer should address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal and for which he/she is qualified to make judgments.

1. What is the intellectual merit and quality of the proposed activity?

How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field and across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?

2. What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?

How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

In addition to the two evaluation criteria stated above, NSF will consider the following factors in making awards:

Integration of Research and Education

One of the principal strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of learner perspectives. Principal Investigators should address this issue in their proposal to provide reviewers with the information necessary to respond fully to both NSF merit review criteria. NSF staff will give it careful consideration in making funding decisions.

Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities

Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens - women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities - is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports. Principal Investigators should address this issue in their proposal to provide reviewers with the information necessary to respond fully to both NSF merit review criteria. NSF staff will give it careful consideration in making funding decisions.


1 A summary and recommendations from the workshop on Wireless Technology and Information Networks are available at the URL http://copperharbor.engin.umich.edu/copy_of_nsfworkshop/index.htm.

2 See President's Information Technology Advisory Committee Interim Report to the President, August 1998. Available at http://www.hpcc.gov

3 The results of a recent NSF-sponsored workshop held in Denver, CO, support this assertion. See the workshop report Tetherless T3 and Beyond at the URL http://www.cudenver.edu/public/engineer/T3-Workshop/T3Report-12-98.html

OMB 3145-0058
NSF 99-68