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Media Advisory 18-002

Smart cities and communities conference features NSF-funded researchers working with local community partners

Demonstrations will showcase application of research into smart cities and communities

Graphic of smart community

Smart cities conference to feature NSF-funded researchers working with community partners.

March 23, 2018

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

On March 27 and 28, research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) about the smart cities and communities of the future will be on display at the sixth annual US Ignite Application Summit. NSF sponsors and funds the event which, for the third year in a row, is co-located with the Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo. Around 100 NSF-funded researchers participate.

NSF-funded scientists, engineers and local community partners will share exciting ideas and new results from ongoing projects. Stage and floor demonstrations will highlight cutting-edge technologies and applications to benefit transportation, mobility, water management, smart growth, energy and more.

NSF is the leading federal agency that seeds innovation to fuel the smart cities and communities of the future. Research-based innovations and applications in this space aim to improve job growth and economic productivity, safety and security, health and wellness, and overall quality of life in local neighborhoods, municipalities and cities within urban and rural settings.

WHO: NSF-funded scientists and engineers working together with local community partners to fuel the smart cities and communities of the future.

WHAT: NSF-sponsored US Ignite Application Summit co-located with the Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 27 and Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 8:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m. CDT

WHERE: Kansas City Convention Center, 301 W 13th St, Kansas City, Missouri 64105

March 27 events featuring NSF:

PAWRing Smart and Connected Communities: Driving Research and Impact
Opening Keynotes, 8:30-10:10 a.m., Room 2103AB
Jim Kurose, NSF assistant director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), will deliver a keynote address on the Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program, a joint effort by NSF and a wireless industry consortium to create city-scale testing platforms that accelerate fundamental research on wireless communication and networking technologies.

SONYC Audio Mapping the Smart City
Opening Keynotes, 8:30-10:10 a.m., Room 2103AB
Urban noise pollution is one of the topmost effectors of quality of life and mental health for city residents. The NSF-funded Sounds of New York City (SONYC) project enables cities to identify, monitor and mitigate the noise pollution in the city through a novel system to continuously map the local soundscape. The system aims to help city planners and residents better understand their environment and make it more livable. Speakers: Juan Bello and Charles Mydlarz, New York University; Cecil McMaster, New York City Environmental Protection.

Smart and Connected Communities: Keynote Panel
10:20-12:05 a.m., Room 2103AB
NSF program director Jonathan Sprinkle will moderate a discussion among NSF-funded academic researchers and community partners about how they formed their partnerships and research projects, how they work together, and rules for successful community engagement. Speakers: Jonathan Sprinkle, NSF; Farrah Cambrice, Prairie View A&M University; Mayor David Allen, City of Prairie View, Texas; Hilary Boudet, Oregon State University; Rachel DiFranco, Sustainability Manager for City of Fremont, California; Hamed Tabki, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; and Robert Phocas, Sustainability Director for the City of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Smart and Connected Energy-Aware Communities 
10:20-12:05 a.m., Room 2103AB
An NSF-funded research team will discuss its goal of fostering energy-aware residential communities by providing feedback and incentives based on large-scale data analytics and predictive modeling. Speakers: Panagiota Karava, Purdue University; Jacob Sipe, Executive Director for the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority; and Gary Hobbs, Chief Executive Officer for Black and White Investments, LLC.

Community-Driven Wayfinding
10:20-12:05 a.m., Room 2103AB
Attendees will have the chance to interact with an early application prototype developed by NSF-funded researchers and navigate between indoor locations within the expo. Such systems are important for the blind or visually impaired. Speakers: Vinod Namboodiri and Sayed Ali Cheraghi, Wichita State University.

NSF Poster Session; NSF & US Ignite Demos
4-7 p.m., Expo Hall
NSF Smart and Connected Community project posters and demos will be on display. The 13 floor demonstrations, including five co-sponsored by US Ignite are:

  • Ambient Machine Vision for Safe Communities: Hamed Tabkhi, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
  • Atlantis: A Game of Sea Level Rise: Yasin Yilmaz, Alan Bush, and Mark Hafen, University of South Florida.
  • CityGuide: Beacon-Based Community-Driven Inclusive Wayfinding: Vinod Namboodiri and Sayed Ali Cheraghi, Wichita State University; and Rakesh Babu, Envision Research Institute, Wichita, Kansas.
  • Building Capacity for Smart and Connected Management of Thermal Extremes: Paul Coseo, Arizona State University; Zoe Hamstead, University of Buffalo; and Eric Walker, Erie County, New York.
  • Crowdsourcing Technology for Mental Wellbeing: Hongwei Dong, California State University-Fresno.
  • SAT-Hub -- Smart and Accessible Transportation Hub: Zhigang Zhu, The City College of New York; Jie Gong, Rutgers University; and Michael Lysicatos, Passaic County, New Jersey.
  • Smart Stormwater Systems: Branko Kerkez, University of Michigan and Harry Sheehan, Washtenaw County Government, Missouri.
  • SONYC - Cyber-Physical Noise Monitoring and Analysis: Juan Bello and Charles Mydlarz, New York University, and Cecil McMaster, New York City Environmental Protection, New York, New York.
  • Building an Edge Cloud in Harlem for Virtual Desktops and Virtual Spaces: Dan Kilper and Bryan Carter, University of Arizona, and Bruce Lincoln, Silicon Harlem, New York, New York.
  • Cyber-Protected Edge Cloud Virtual Desktop: Fatma Alali, Ron Williams, and Malathi Veeraraghavan, University of Virginia; Dan Kilper, University of Arizona; and Andrew Rodgers The Enterprise Center, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  • AI Driven Autonomous Sorting: Yizhe Zhang, University of Virginia and Lianjun Li University of Texas at Dallas.
  • All-in-One Urban Mobility Mapping: Mina Sartipi, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Alexander Samoylov, Georgia Institute of Technology.
  • Using Distributed Augmented Reality for Teaching Patient Interaction: Marjorie Zielke and D.J. Zakhidov, University of Texas at Dallas.

March 28 event featuring NSF:

Smart Stormwater Systems
10:45-12:15 a.m., Room 2103AB
A team will demonstrate a system of integrated low-cost sensors that form an adaptable, self-regulating stormwater system. NSF-supported speakers: Branko Kerkez, University of Michigan; Harry Sheehan, Chief Deputy Water Resources Commissioner for Washtenaw County Government.


Media Contacts
Linda A. McBrearty, NSF, (703) 292-2251, email:
Brett Weisband, US Ignite Media Contact, (610) 291-0588, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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