NSF and Intel partner to secure cyber-physical systems

cyber-physical systems
The collaboration with Intel extends NSF’s investments in fundamental research on cyber-physical systems, which has totalled more than US$200m over the last five years

In the US, the National Science Foundation has partnered with Intel, a multinational technology company and semiconductor chip maker to bring government, industry and academia together in a bid to improve the security and privacy of computing systems that interact with the physical world.

A release by the National Science Foundation states that the rise in smart homes, smart grids and EVs is giving rise to a phenomenon where interaction between the digital world and physical world is increasing on a daily basis. The NSF calls these hybrid form/networks phenomenon – cyber-physical systems (CPS).

Part of the collaboration between the two organisations includes the award of two research grants that will study solutions to examine the security and privacy of cyber-physical systems.

The NSF says that the key research focus area will establish an “understanding of the broader socioeconomic factors that influence cyber-physical systems security and privacy.”

NSF and Intel’s joint cooperation will include the joint selection of projects, an open collaborative intellectual property agreement and a management plan to facilitate effective information exchange between faculty, students and industrial researchers.

Jim Kurose, head of Computer and Information Science and Engineering at NSF, said: “Advances in the integration of information and communications technologies are transforming the way people interact with engineered systems.

“Rigorous interdisciplinary research, such as the projects announced today in partnership with Intel, can help to better understand and mitigate threats to our critical cyber-physical systems and secure the nation’s economy, public safety, and overall well-being.”

Cyber-physical systems research grants

The two grants totalling US$6m were awarded to Insup Lee, University of Pennsylvania for research project: Security and Privacy-Aware Cyber-Physical Systems and Philip Levis of Stanford University for: CPS-Security: End-to-End Security for the Internet of Things.

According to one of the recipients of the research grant, Philip Levis, “rapidly increasing incorporation of networked computation into everything from our homes to hospitals to transportation systems can dramatically increase the adverse consequences of poor cybersecurity.”

Levis added: “Our research aims to lay the groundwork and basic principles to secure computing applications that interact with the physical world as they are being built and before they are used.

“The Internet of Things is still very new. By researching these principles now, we hope to help avoid many security disasters in the future.”

Fellow research grant winner Insup Lee commented: “With this award, we will develop robust, new technologies and approaches that work together to lead to safer, more secure and privacy-preserving cyber-physical systems by developing methods to tolerate attacks on physical environment and cyberspace in addition to preventing them.”