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Professor John Baras (ECE/ISR) is the Principal Investigator and Assistant Professor Nuno Martins (ECE/ISR) is a co-PI for the University of Maryland's portion of a major new Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency research grant. The grant establishes a multi-university Focused Center for research in microelectronics and systems, the "Multi-Scale Systems Design Center (MuSyC)." The project's total initial budget for the first three years is $9 million.

MuSyC is part of SRC's Focus Center Research Program, which addresses major challenges in semiconductor and systems technology through long-range, innovative research. The goal of this collaborative effort between the Department of Defense and industry is to sustain the unprecedented multi-decade record of uninterrupted performance improvement in information processing power and storage.

MuSyC addresses the conception, implementation, validation and management of distributed information technology systems that have important features at multiple scales--spatial, temporal, functional, or technological. The main challenges addressed are linking between scales and taming complexity. The grand goal of the MuSyC is to create a comprehensive and systematic solution to the distributed multi-scale system design challenge, specifically the development of "energy-smart" distributed systems. Such systems would be deeply aware of the balance between energy availability and demand, and adjust their behavior in response through dynamic and adaptive optimization through all scales of the design hierarchy. Intelligent "energy management, distribution, and utilization" is one of the most prominent societal applications of the distributed IT platform of the future.

The University of Maryland is part of a consortium led by the University of California, Berkeley, to discover and enable optimal application architectures for complex systems operating in many temporal and spatial dimensions. Maryland's portion initially is worth $946,000 over the first three years, and is expected to increase commensurably as the overall budget of the new center increases.

Baras and Martins will contribute in the research areas of Distributed Control Algorithms (distributed real time control, distributed estimation with communication costs, optimal resource allocation including energy in distributed control, taxonomy of structure versus behavior), Security and Trust (coalitional security, composite trust and its effects on distributed sense and control performance, physical layer authentication and compositional security, policies and semi-rings and vulnerabilities, energy versus security and trust tradeoff), Attention-optimized Multi-scale Systems (stochastic feedback control methods for multiscale systems, biologically-inspired attentional-adaptive schemes, Real-Time information flow management), and the Microscopic System Platform Demonstrator.

In addition to Maryland and Berkeley, participating universities include: Caltech, North Carolina State, Rice, Stanford, UC San Diego, USC, Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Michigan and Penn. The world-renowned faculty research team includes four members of the US NAE, six endowed chaired professors, and winners of several prestigious awards for research and education from IEEE, ACM and ASEE.

A longer, more detailed version of this funding story is available here.



August 24, 2009


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