Computer Systems Research (CSR), National Science Foundation (NSF)

about 2 years ago

Division of Computer and Network Systems

Computer Systems Research  (CSR)

See program guidelines for contact information.


The Computer Systems Research (CSR) program supports transformative research in computer systems including: multi-core architectures, operating systems, middle-ware and run-time support systems, programming models and tools, storage and file systems, hybrid and embedded systems, web-based systems, datacenters, distributed systems, parallel systems, large scale grids, wireless systems, mobile systems, and sensor systems.

CSR proposals should address problems that are appropriate to the CSR Core Area or to one of this year's highlighted areas. Note that proposals that address problems in the CSR highlighted areas are not targeted for special handling or funding - they simply represent emerging areas or areas of current national interest.

  • CSR Core Are

The CSR program supports transformative research, whether foundational or in computing systems, ranging from multi-core architectures and operating systems to mobile and sensor systems. Research in computer systems is typically complicated by two factors. First, modern systems are increasingly large, complex, and heterogeneous. Second, they are usually required to provide, during their executions, high degrees of availability, responsiveness, fault-tolerance, and security. Some are safety-critical. Other system properties of interest include speed, storage requirements, energy consumption, and real-time constraints.

Research in the CSR Core Area involves developing methodologies, techniques, heuristics, and tools for the analysis, design, construction, optimization, and certification of computing systems to meet specified goals, as well as hardware and software execution platforms and environments.

The CSR core supports and sustains progress in the contributing disciplinary areas that underlie computing systems, including: distributed systems; high performance computing; operating systems and middleware; design and programming models; and real-time, embedded, and hybrid systems.

  • CSR Highlighted Areas

For this solicitation, there are four CSR highlighted areas: Cloud Computing (CC), Embedded and Hybrid Systems (EHS), Pervasive Computing (PC), and Sustainable Computing (SC). These four areas are described below.

  • Cloud Computing

    Cloud computing is a computing paradigm of on-demand access (as a service) to computing, data, and software utilities. It is based on an abstraction of unlimited availability of virtual resources, and a model of usage-based billing where users essentially "rent" virtual resources and pay only for the virtual resources that they rent.

    The main focus of the CC highlight area is to stimulate and promote basic, applied, and experimental research in several directions, in the area of cloud computing, that includes (but is not limited to): cloud architectures and systems; network support for cloud computing; data replication, consistency, availability, and management; programming models for the cloud; cloud self-monitoring, prediction, and autonomic control; fault-masking and reliability; cloud security, privacy, authorization, and auditing; debugging, certification, diagnosis, and update in the cloud; data portability, inter-operability, and standardization; green clouds; and cloud test-beds.

  • Embedded and Hybrid Systems

    Embedded and hybrid systems control devices and physical or engineered systems that range from hearing aids and pacemakers to automobiles, aircraft, chemical processing plants, electrical power grids, and global aviation infrastructure. The EHS highlight area supports research and education in scientific foundations and technology that will revolutionize the design and development of such systems.

    The goal is to supply technologies for designing and building increasingly capable and certifiably dependable embedded and control systems, with real-time, interoperability, survivability, reliability, and security guarantees. A central challenge is to create unified foundations for interacting physical and computational systems.

    Specific topics of interest include: embedded systems software and programming methods; real-time services and platforms; foundations and technology for hybrid (discrete and continuous) control; innovative embedded hardware technology; scalable support for embedded sensing; architecture and design principles for complex embedded systems; and resource management and optimization.

  • Pervasive Computing

    The dynamic and heterogeneous nature of ubiquitous, distributed and pervasive computing systems, coupled with their interactions with humans and devices, gives rise to unique scientific and socio-technical challenges. At the core of these challenges is the need for new abstractions, models, methodologies, languages, tools and systems.

    Support for pervasive and distributed access to systems, ranging in size and complexity from the personal to very large-scale, requires new approaches to: creating system software; configuring architectures, networks, and connectivity; management; and metrics. The PC highlight area funds activities that address the challenges posed by PCs which may include: pervasive and distributed system modeling and design; techniques for remote access to systems, devices and data; context-aware, smart and adaptive environments; scalability, performance and fault tolerance; security and trust; quality of service; energy management; and other aspects affecting the realization, operation, and use of pervasive and distributed systems.

  • Sustainable Computing

    The SC highlight area addresses fundamental advances in methods and models to address power, thermal and sustainability issues in the design and operation of computing devices at all scales (from PDAs to large servers and storage boxes) and at all levels (from chips to entire data centers) that are essential to reduce the carbon footprint of fast expanding computing technologies and to deliver the performance that customers and applications demand. As energy generation becomes more distributed and relies on renewable sources, integration of energy generation and consumption by IT becomes an important aspect to consider. With energy consumption of IT systems becoming a major issue, tradeoffs between energy efficiency, performance, and other factors such as reliability or space become essential.

Both the CSR Core and the CSR highlighted areas seek proposals focused on advances in system computing and systems programming that are particular to an application domain or a specific hardware platform as well as generic across domains and platforms. Investigators interested in the CSR program may also wish to consider the Software and Hardware Foundations (SHF) program, which supports research on the design, verification, operation, utilization, and evaluation of computer hardware and software through novel approaches, robust theories, high leverage tools, and lasting principles.


Computer Systems Research (CSR) Staff

Funding Opportunities for the Computer Systems Research (CSR) Program:

Computer and Network Systems (CNS): Core Programs.  NSF 12-582

Computer and Network Systems (CNS): Core Programs



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