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Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering
Division of Computer and Network Systems

Computer Systems Cluster

Future computing systems will be required to control a greater variety of computing, communication, storage, and external devices; support a broader range of increasingly demanding applications; and to manage hundreds of asynchronous activities correctly, securely, and reliably. The Computer Systems cluster supports research and education activities that address these requirements in a variety of systems, including distributed, mobile, and embedded systems; sensing and control systems; dynamically configured, multiple-component systems; parallel systems; and trusted systems.

Topical areas include new ways to organize systems (ex. peer to peer); software architectures that scale to handle thousands of components or a spectrum of heterogeneous components; ways to handle complex combinations of requirements, such as meeting real-time constraints and coordinating control in an embedded, failure-prone environment; methods that enable systems to detect problems and to take corrective action without human intervention; tools to analyze and predict the behavior of entire computing systems; techniques for developing complex, dynamically changing applications and for managing them at runtime; storage systems that are low-cost, scalable, and reliable; and operating systems and libraries for new technologies.

1. Distributed Systems

Sponsors research and education on methodologies and designs of system software and runtime support for distributed applications in order to achieve efficient, flexible, and robust computing in a parallel/multiprocessor/network execution environment. Focus is on novel concepts for design of distributed systems to capture the dynamic and open nature of the underlying system platforms. The program encompasses areas ranging from fundamental operating systems, cluster and grid computing, and middleware, to emerging pervasive agent/mobile systems and peer-to-peer web-based computing. Experimental designs and formal methods and analytical/simulation tools for such systems are also encouraged.

Topics of interest fall into two program components:

  • Topics in the Distributed Systems component include system architectures for global-scale networked applications, programming paradigms for parallel and distributed systems, and mobile system architectures for pervasive and ubiquitous computing.
  • Topics in the Operating Systems component include system architectures, run-time systems, and hardware impacts. Special emphasis is placed on operating system support for middleware and distributed applications and on creative system concepts brought forth from hardware innovations.

2. Embedded and Hybrid Systems

Supports research and education in scientific principles and technology to revolutionize the design and development of embedded systems for a broad range of applications. Software has enabled increasingly ambitious, often safety-critical systems such as transportation, manufacturing, medical devices and systems, environmental control, and energy management. These include distributed and coordinated embedded systems that demand high levels of autonomy, adaptability, and component integration, such as multi-modal sensing and control.

The goal of the program is to create and unify the foundations for managing interacting physical and computational systems, and to supply the technologies needed for building reliable software- and network-enabled embedded systems. Relevant research includes areas such as hybrid (discrete and continuous) modeling and control of physical systems; domain-specific design, programming, and software synthesis approaches for embedded systems; verification and analysis technology for checking and certifying correct operation of embedded systems; real-time open systems, middleware, and virtual machine strategies for embedded systems; dynamic scheduling that accommodates both hard and soft real-time processes; and program composition approaches for synthesizing software while preserving essential properties.

3. Next Generation Software (NGS)

Fosters multidisciplinary group and single investigator software research. The overall thrusts of NGS are research and development for new software technologies integrated across the systems architectural layers; supporting the design and operation cycle of applications and computing and communications systems; and delivering quality of service (QoS). Topics of interest fall into two program components:

  • Technology for Performance Engineered Systems (TPES) component, supports research and education leading to the development of performance frameworks for modeling, measurement, analysis, evaluation, and prediction of performance of complex computing and communications systems; and of the applications executing on such systems.
  • Complex Application Design and Support Systems (CADSS) component, supports research on novel software for the development and run-time support of complex applications executing on complex computing platforms; CADSS-fostered technology breaks down traditional barriers in existing software components in the application development, support and runtime layers, and leverages technology for performance engineered systems-developed technology for delivering QoS.

Computing Research Infrastructure Cluster

1. CISE Research Infrastructure

Provides support to aid in the establishment, enhancement, and operation of major experimental facilities that are planned for the support all the research areas in the CISE Directorate. The program may also assist activities for integration of research and education. The program recognizes the emergence of research groups requiring strengthening of experimental facilities in a variety of environments—those solely within a single academic department; those drawing from several departments in a single institution; and those spanning several different institutions. This program supports the areas of research supported by the CISE Directorate that are described in this Guide to Programs.

2. CISE Research Resources

Increases the capability and capacity to carry out basic research in information technology at U.S. institutions. The program supports the acquisition and development of advanced resources for research and integrated research and education activities. Resources may include research equipment, instrumentation, software, data repositories, or services. Resources supported under this program are those generally not supported by other programs due to cost, complexity, level of shared use, or other reasons. Three elements comprise this program: CISE instrumentation, collaborative research resources, and distributed research resources.

3. Minority Institutions Infrastructure

Provides awards to aid efforts that might significantly expand the numbers of minority students attracted to and retained in computer and information science and engineering disciplines. Eligible institutions must be minority institutions as defined by significant percentages of minority students. The program considers a variety of activities including research programs involving minority students, curriculum development projects, mentoring, and outreach. Both 1-year planning grants and continuing grants of up to 5 years in duration are awarded.

Network Systems Cluster

In the future, networks are likely to exhibit unpredictable, complex behavior and dynamics. They are likely to span a broad range of technologies and bandwidths--from wireless sensors to a high-performance core--and to carry increasingly large amounts of increasingly demanding traffic. The Network Systems cluster supports a range of research and education activities in network systems, including networking research, new technologies, and networking research test beds. Topical areas include rethinking the architecture of the core of the network to accommodate orders of magnitude increases in traffic; sensor networks that are self-diagnosing, self-healing, and self-organizing; overlay networks that seek to build a rich layer of support for application-level functionality on top of the current IP infrastructure; extensible networks that provide a framework by which new services and applications can be added dynamically; adaptable networks that detect and respond to threats; and wireless networking systems that support more users, have higher bandwidth, require less power, have longer range, and integrate seamlessly with wired networks.

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