Archives for November 19, 2015

AFOSR: Information and Networks (RTA2) – Optimization and Discrete Mathematics

see notice


The program goal is the development of mathematical methods for the optimization of large and complex models that will address future decision problems of interest to the U.S. Air Force. Areas of fundamental interest include resource allocation, planning, logistics, engineering design and scheduling. Increasingly, the decision models will address problems that arise in the design, management and defense of complex networks, in robust decision making, in performance, operational efficiency, and optimal control of dynamical systems, and in artificial intelligence and information technology applications.

There will be a focus on the development of new nonlinear, integer and combinatorial optimization algorithms, including those with stochastic components. Techniques designed to handle data that are uncertain, evolving, incomplete, conflicting, or overlapping are particularly important. As basic research aimed at having the broadest possible impact, the development of new computational methods will include an emphasis on theoretical underpinnings, on rigorous convergence analysis, and on establishing provable bounds for (meta-) heuristics and other approximation methods.

AFOSR: Engineering and Complex Systems (RTA1) – Space Power and Propulsion

see notice


Research activities are focused as multi-disciplinary, multi-physics, multi-scale approach to complex problems, and fall into four areas: Coupled Material and Plasma Processes Far From Equilibrium, Nanoenergetics, HighPressure Combustion Dynamics, and Electrospray Physics.

DTRA: Fundamental Research to Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction (C-WMD)

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This BAA is an extramural endeavor that combines fundamental research needs of DTRA and other DOD interests. DTRA safeguards America and its allies from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and provide capabilities toreduce, eliminate and counter the threat and effects from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high yield explosives. DTRA seeks to identify, adopt, and adapt emerging, existing and revolutionary sciences that may demonstrate high payoff potential to Counter-WMD (C-WMD) threats. This announcement solicits white papers for long-term challenges in specific fundamental areas of research that offer a significant contribution to the current body of knowledge, understanding of phenomena and observable facts, significantly advance revolutionary technology, new concepts for technology application, and may have impact on future C-WMD capabilities. A small portion of this effort is expected to be devoted to awards for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs with a C-WMD focus; such as, but not limited to, stipends, degrees, and visiting scientist programs.

White papers and proposals shall be written against the Thrust Area descriptions:
Thrust Area 1: Science of WMD Sensing and Recognition: The basic science of WMD sensing and recognition is the fundamental understanding of materials that demonstrate measurable changes when stimulated by radiation or particles from WMD in the environment. This research thrust involves exploration and exploitation of interactions between materials and various photons, molecules, nuclear radiation and/or particles. These interactions and the specific form of recognition they provide are used for subsequent generation of information that provides knowledge of the presence, identity, and/or quantity of material or energy in the environment that may be significant.

Thrust Area 2: Cognitive, Information and Network Science: The basic science of cognitive and information science results from the convergence of computer, information, mathematical, network, cognitive and social science. This research thrust expands our understanding of physical and social networks and advances knowledge of adversarial intent with respect to the acquisition, proliferation, and potential use of WMD. The methods may include analytical, computational or numerical, or experimental means to integrate knowledge across disciplines and improve rapid processing of intelligence and dissemination of information.

Thrust Area 3: Science for Protection: Fundamental science for protection involves advancing knowledge to protect life and life-sustaining resources and networks. Protection includes threat containment, decontamination, threat filtering, and shielding of systems. The concept is generalized to include fundamental investigations that reduce consequences of WMD, assist in the restoration of life-sustaining functions, and support forensic science.

Thrust Area 4: Science to Defeat WMD: Fundamental Science for significantly improving energetic materials for use against WMD facilities and systems, for deeper penetration to deny the adversary sanctuary of WMD, for predictable modeling of counter-WMD munitions and simulation of in-theater scenarios with accurate lethality calculations, for minimizing collateral effects when engaging WMD and for exploiting vulnerable pathways, infrastructure etc. to eliminate the threat of WMD.

Thrust Area 5: Science to Secure WMDs: Fundamental science to support securing WMD includes: (a) environmentally responsible innovative processes to neutralize chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE) materials and components; (b) discovery of revolutionary means to secure components and weapons; and (c) studies of scientific principles that lead to novel physical or other tags and methods to monitor compliance and disrupt proliferation pathways. The identification of basic phenomena that provide verifiable controls on materials and systems also helps arms control.

Thrust Area 6: Cooperative Counter WMD Research with Global Partners: Cooperative fundamental research to reduce the global threat of WMD in collaboration with a broad range of global research partners. This thrust area involves exploratory applied research that may have a basic research component to address opportunities to reduce, eliminate, and counter WMD across the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High Explosive (CBRNE) spectrum. Strong international relationships will foster smooth transition of C-WMD program ownership to the partnering country. The foci are to improve international collaboration to detect, characterize, and report WMD, and to advance host nation sustainment through a culture of long-term cooperation and scientific responsibility for C-WMD programs. Multidisciplinary research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics promotes transparency through quality research publications and continual dialogue between scientist/engineers and young researchers.

There are 2 categories of award that will be considered:
1. Single Investigator Awards: Proposals that focus on exploratory aspects of a unique problem, a high risk approach, or innovative research in subjects with potential for high impact to fundamental C-WMD science.
2. Single Grant/Multiple Investigator/Multidisciplinary Awards: Proposals that involve a comprehensive program of innovative research in either a focused or interdisciplinary area with potential for high impact. The proposed research must involve fundamental contributions in research by multiple investigators from diverse disciples (proposal must be multidisciplinary). Investigators may be from a single institution or different institutions.

DTRA: Algorithms for Threat Detection (ATD)

see notice


DMS has formed a partnership with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) to develop the next generation of mathematical and statistical algorithms for the detection of chemical agents, biological threats, and threats inferred from geospatial information.

This program solicits proposals from the mathematical sciences community in two main thrust areas: mathematical and statistical techniques for genomics, and mathematical and statistical techniques for the analysis of data from sensor systems.

NIH: Spatial Uncertainty: Data, Modeling, and Communication (R03)

see notice


The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to support innovative research that identifies sources of spatial uncertainty (i.e., inaccuracy or instability of spatial or geographic information) in public health data, incorporates the inaccuracy or instability into statistical methods, and develops novel tools to visualize the nature and consequences of spatial uncertainty.

Components of Participating Organizations:

National Cancer Institute (NCI)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

NSF: Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF): Core Programs

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CCF supports transformative research and education projects that explore the foundations of computing and communication. The Division seeks advances in computing and communication theory, algorithm design and analysis,and the architecture and design of computers and software. CCF-supported projects also investigate revolutionary computing models and technologies based on emerging scientific ideas and integrate research and education activities to prepare future generations of computer science and engineering workers.

CCF supports three core programs as described below – Algorithmic Foundations (AF), Communications and Information Foundations (CIF), and Software and Hardware Foundations (SHF).

Algorithmic Foundations (AF)
The Algorithmic Foundations (AF) program supports potentially transformative research and education projects advancing design and analysis of algorithms and characterized by algorithmic thinking accompanied by rigorous analysis. Research on algorithms for problems that are central to computer science and engineering as well as new techniques for the rigorous analysis of algorithms are of interest. AF supports theoretical research that bounds the intrinsic difficulty of problems to determine the measures of complexity in formal models of computation, classical or new. The goal is to understand the fundamental limits of resource-bounded computation and to obtain efficient solutions within those limits. Specifically, the time and space complexity of finding exact and approximate solutions in deterministic and randomized models of computation is a central concern of the program. Research on resources other than time and space, such as communication and energy, is also encouraged. In addition to the traditional, sequential computing paradigm, AF supports research on the design and analysis of novel algorithms in parallel and distributed models, in particular, in heterogeneous multi-core and many-core machines; the computational models and algorithms that capture essential aspects of computing over massive data sets; game theory and social networks; and alternative forms of computation and information processing, including quantum computing and biological models of computation.

The program supports research in algorithms needed in all areas, both within and outside computer science. Algorithmic research with applications in databases, machine learning, data mining, networks, communications, operating systems, languages, compilers, and machine abstractions is supported. New techniques for the design and analysis of algorithms in areas such as cryptography, computational geometry, computational biology, game theory, social networks and numerical, symbolic, and algebraic computing are appropriate for this program. Relevance to application areas is important and collaborations with researchers in those areas are encouraged. However, research funded by this program must advance the study of algorithms.

Research on parallelism and scalability that promises to lead to a new era of parallel computing is now supported through a separate program, eXploiting Parallelism and Scalability (XPS). XPS is particularly interested in “clean-slate” approaches that re-evaluate and possibly re-design the traditional hardware and software stack.

Communications and Information Foundations (CIF)
The Communications and Information Foundations (CIF) program supports potentially transformative research that addresses the theoretical underpinnings and current and future enabling technologies for information acquisition, transmission, and processing in communications and information processing systems. As a result, CIF research and education projects strengthen the intellectual foundations of communications and information theory and signal processing in a variety of types of networks such as sensor networks, wireless and multimedia networks, biological networks, and networks of quantum devices. Research outcomes are expected to lead to more secure and reliable communications and advanced mathematical capabilities that are applicable throughout science and engineering.

The program supports basic research in wireless communications, information theory and coding. Included in the CIF program is the reliable transmission of information, in both analog and digital form, in the presence of a variety of channel impairments (noise, multipath, eavesdroppers, interference, etc.). A number of channel architectures are of interest, including multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) channels, feedback channels, optical channels, quantum channels, and biological channels. CIF has a strong interest in the theoretical performance limits for various communication systems architectures and in the presence of various channel impairments. Also of interest are performance metrics and tradeoffs. An important example is the tradeoff between error probability and latency resulting from coding/decoding algorithms, diversity techniques, interference management, and other types of signal processing.

The CIF program also supports fundamental research in networking including network information theory, network coding, and cross-layer research at the lower layers. The CIF research program in networking focuses on the MAC layer and below and emphasizes research in which the physical-layer attributes play an important role in overall network design and performance such as the impact of physical-layer characteristics on higher network layers. CIF supports research at the intersection of communications and information theory, signal processing, and networking. Examples include sensor networks with applications to environmental monitoring, civil infrastructure monitoring, data communications system monitoring, and power grid monitoring. A further example is network tomography, which involves detecting and classifying spatially distributed anomalies within complex large-scale systems from multiple monitoring (sensor) sites.

In addition to the contemporary signal processing topics that have enabled the IT revolution, there is growing interest within the CIF program in new paradigms that enlarge the scope of signal and information processing from the domain of the linear to the realm of the nonlinear – from linear algebra to algebra, from Euclidean to curved spaces, from uniform to highly non-uniform time and space sampling, to signal processing on graphs. Research that will develop efficient power aware and hardware-friendly algorithms and research on signal/information processing algorithms for the new network science of distributed, decentralized, and cooperative algorithms that avoid global communications is encouraged. The exploration of new approaches to manage massive datasets, such as compressive sampling/sensing, also promises advances in the field.

The CIF program is particularly interested in the application of signal/information processing in complex systems. Some examples of exciting applications are monitoring the Nation’s critical infrastructures, signal processing in biological systems, and biomedical signal and image processing. These and other emerging application domains pose new constraints and challenges, leading to the reexamination of old questions and assumptions.

Software and Hardware Foundations (SHF)
All fields of science and engineering – and society at large – depend on fundamental advances in scientific foundations and engineering methods for computer hardware and software. The SHF program supports research and education projects on the design, verification, operation, utilization, and evaluation of computer hardware and software through novel approaches, robust theories, high-leverage tools, and lasting principles. Such advances may offer formal methods, languages, logics, novel software and/or hardware artifacts, or algorithms to enable new or enhanced functionality, verification, usability, and scale. Proposals should clearly describe a plan for evaluating the research.

The SHF program supports all aspects of the science and engineering of software, seeking transformative ideas that reformulate the relationships between requirements, design and evolution of software, and software-intensive systems. SHF supports research projects focusing on program analysis and synthesis, compositionality, verifiability and adaptability of software, as well as research on software analysis and testing techniques for all stages of the software life cycle. SHF also seeks research to increase the automation of software engineering capabilities to attain significant advances in quality and sustainability of software, which may require new representations and processes. Empirical research that increases understanding of software and software creation is also in scope.

SHF supports fundamental research on formal and semi-formal methods for the specification, development and verification of software and hardware systems. This includes, but is not limited to, abstraction, compositional, refinement-based, and probabilistic methods for the modeling and validation of systems involving discrete and continuous behavior. SHF seeks proposals that enhance the applicability, usability, and efficiency of techniques such as abstract interpretation, model checking, theorem proving, automated decision procedures, and constraint solving. Research topics involving the semantics, logics, verification, and analysis of concurrent systems are in scope. SHF supports foundations, algorithms, and tools for software and hardware synthesis.

SHF supports the entire range of programming languages research, from foundations to design to implementation. Fundamental research in both science and engineering of programming languages is highly encouraged. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, language semantics and type theory, design and implementation of advanced languages and language features, compilers and runtime systems for advanced languages, program analysis and optimization, design and implementation of domain-specific languages, and implementation issues related to locality, synchronization and communication. Research in programming languages and models that go beyond mainstream practice, such as concurrent, functional, logic programming and probabilistic languages, are particularly encouraged. Foundational research that exposes novel synergies between programming languages and other areas of computing is also encouraged.

SHF seeks proposals that address foundational issues in computer architecture and the key challenges in computer hardware and systems design, including, but not limited to, performance, energy efficiency, reliability, scalability, concurrency, and heterogeneity. The program supports fundamental and transformative research in processors, interconnects, memory and storage architectures. SHF seeks research that takes holistic and cross-layer approaches to fully harness the promises and address the challenges of new and emerging substrate technologies and materials as well as considering emerging trends in application environments including computation-intensive, data-intensive, and I/O-intensive applications.

SHF supports foundational research in high-performance computing that is aware of, driven by, and inspired by applications, as well as heterogeneity-aware and architecture-aware. SHF does not support research in domain applications. SHF seeks novel research on enabling technologies and tools to balance and optimize performance goals including scalability, power, productivity, repeatability, reliability, and validity.

SHF supports all topics in design automation including, but not limited to logical, physical, behavioral, and high level synthesis methods, interplay between synthesis and verification, design methodologies for scalable, low power and energy efficient circuits, and physical design in silicon technologies. Also of interest is pre- and post-silicon validation, possibly by using a blend of techniques from testing and verification. SHF seeks research in emerging technologies, including optical interconnects, quantum computing, optical computing, bio-computing, bio-inspired devices, nanotubes and nanophotonics, which have the potential to take computation beyond Moore’s Law.

Research on parallelism and scalability that promises to lead to a new era of parallel computing is now supported through a separate program, eXploiting Parallelism and Scalability (XPS). XPS is particularly interested in “clean-slate” approaches that re-evaluate and possibly re-design the traditional hardware and software stack.

Research addressing hardware and/or software security that provides the basis for designing, building, and operating a cyberinfrastructure with improved resistance to malicious behavior may be in scope for the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program.

Investigators interested in the SHF program may also wish to consider the CSR program in the CNS division, which focuses on advances in system computing and system programming that are particular to an application domain or a specific hardware platform.

Project Classes
Proposals submitted to this solicitation must be consistent with one of three project classes defined below. Proposals will be considered for funding within their project classes.
– Small Projects: Small Projects are well suited to one or two investigators (PI and one co-PI or other Senior Personnel) and at least one student and/or postdoc.
– Medium Projects: Medium Projects are well-suited to one or more investigators (PI, co-PI and/or other Senior Personnel) and several students and/or postdocs. Medium project descriptions must be comprehensive and well-integrated, and should make a convincing case that the collaborative contributions of the project team will be greater than the sum of each of their individual contributions. Rationale must be provided to explain why a budget of this size is required to carry out the proposed work. Since the success of collaborative research efforts are known to depend on thoughtful coordination mechanisms that regularly bring together the various participants of the project, a Collaboration Plan is required for all Medium proposals with more than one investigator.
– Large Projects: Large Projects are well-suited to two or more investigators (PI, co-PI(s), or other Senior Personnel), and a team of students and/or postdocs. Large project descriptions must be comprehensive and well-integrated, and should make a convincing case that the collaborative contributions of the project team will be greater than the sum of each of their individual contributions. Large projects will typically integrate research from various areas, either within a cluster or across clusters, or tackle ambitious goals not feasible with smaller projects. Rationale must be provided to explain why a budget of this size is required to carry out the proposed work. Since the success of collaborative research efforts are known to depend on thoughtful coordination mechanisms that regularly bring together the various participants of the project, a Collaboration Plan is required for all Large proposals.

CISE investments in Small, Medium and Large projects complement the Directorate’s investments in the Expeditions in Computing program, where projects are funded at levels of up to $10,000,000 total for durations of up to 5 years.

Breakthrough Proposals
CISE encourages proposals that promise extraordinary outcomes, with a possibly corresponding increase in uncertainty in the research plan and overall risk of success relative to traditional submissions, such as: revolutionizing disciplines or sub-disciplines, creating new fields or subfields, disrupting accepted theories and perspectives, and solving widely recognized challenging problems. In order to encourage the submission of proposals possessing one or more of these characteristics, we are offering the opportunity to submit and identify such projects as “Breakthrough Proposals.”

Breakthrough proposals may be submitted to all CISE (CCF/CNS/IIS) core programs and may be Small, Medium, or Large. They must be submitted in accordance with the deadlines for Small, Medium, and Large proposals. Submission of a breakthrough proposal will count as one against the limit of two proposals per PI.

Proposals for Consideration by Multiple CISE Programs
Proposals that intersect more than one CISE research program are welcome. In such cases, PIs must identify the most relevant programs in the proposal submission process. CISE Program Officers will ensure that these proposals are co-reviewed as appropriate.

Important Project Characteristics
The submission of far-reaching, creative research and education projects is encouraged. Funds will be used to support potentially transformative research with high-impact potential. In this way, CISE will catalyze exciting new research activities with the potential to make significant advances in the state-of-the-art.

Proposals submitted should demonstrate that rich learning experiences will be provided for a diverse population of students and may propose the development of innovative curricula or educational materials that advance literacy about and expertise in areas supported by CISE.

Embedded REU Supplements
Proposers are invited to embed a request for an REU Supplement in the typical amount for one year only according to normal CISE guidelines. The amounts of the REU Supplements do not count against the budget limitations described in this solicitation for the Small, Medium, and Large project categories.

For single investigator projects, CISE REU supplemental funding requests should typically be for no more than two students for one year. Research teams funded through multi-investigator projects may request support for a larger number of students, commensurate with the size and nature of their projects. For example, for projects involving two principal investigators, REU supplemental funding is typically requested for about four undergraduates for one year. Requests for larger numbers of students should be accompanied by detailed justifications.

NSF: Energy for Sustainability

see notice NSF

The goal of the program is to support fundamental engineering research and education that will enable innovative processes for the sustainable production of electricity and transportation fuels. Processes forsustainable energy production must be environmentally benign, reduce greenhouse gas production, and utilize renewable resources.

Current topics of interest include:
1. Biomass Conversion, Biofuels & Bioenergy: Fundamental research on innovative approaches that lead to the intensification of biofuel and bioenergy processes is an emphasis area of this program. Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to: biological, thermochemical, or thermocatalytic routes for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to advanced biofuels beyond cellulosic ethanol; microbial fuel cells for direct production of electricity from renewable carbon sources; hydrogen production from autotrophic or heterotrophic microorganisms; hydrocarbons and lipids from phototrophic or heterotrophic microorganisms.
– Proposals that focus primarily on chemical reactor analysis related to biomass conversion should be submitted to Process and Reaction Engineering (CBET 1403), and proposals related to the combustion of biomass should be sent to Combustion and Fire Systems (CBET 1407).
– Proposals that focus on the fundamentals of catalysis or biocatalysis should be submitted to Catalysis and Biocatalysis (CBET 1401).

2. Photovoltaic Solar Energy: Fundamental research on innovative processes for the fabrication and theory-based characterization of future PV devices is an emphasis area of this program. Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to: nano-enabled PV devices containing nanostructured semiconductors, plasmonic materials, photonic structures, or conducting polymers; earth-abundant and environmentally benign materials for photovoltaic devices; photocatalytic or photoelectrochemical processes for the splitting of water into H2 gas, or for the reduction of CO2 to liquid or gaseous fuels.
– Proposals that focus on the fundamentals of photocatalysis should be submitted to Catalysis and Biocatalysis (CBET 1401).
– The generation of thermal energy by solar radiation is not an area supported by this program, but may be considered by Thermal Transport Processes (CBET 1406).

3. Advanced Batteries for Transportation and Renewable Energy Storage: Radically new battery systems or breakthroughs based on existing systems can move the US more rapidly toward a more sustainable transportation future. The focus is on high-energy density and high-power density batteries suitable for transportation and renewable energy storage applications. Advanced systems such as lithium-air, sodium-ion, as well as lithium-ion electrochemical energy storage are appropriate. Work on commercially available systems such as lead-acid and nickel-metal hydride batteries will not be considered by this program.
– Fuel-cell related proposals should be directed to other CBET programs, depending on emphasis: electrocatalysis (Catalysis and Biocatalysis, CBET 1401); membranes (Chemical and Biological Separations, CBET 1417); systems (Process and Reaction Engineering, CBET 1403).

4. Wind Energy: This program no longer supports wind, wave, tidal, or hydrokinetic energy research. The proposer is encouraged to contact the program director for suggestions on a possible program home for proposal submission.

NOTE: For proposals involving any aspect of chemistry, including but not limited to biochemistry or physical chemistry, consider making proposal submissions to this program (7644).

Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field. Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and/or industry of success in the research. The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged.

Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements

Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate.

Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged.

Missouri Clean Water

Hear about government efforts to clean up water (see eConnection article)

Sara Parker Pauley, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, will present a lecture titled “Water: A Driving Force,” at 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, in Room 125 Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering Hall. Pauley will discuss various integrated efforts the department is employing to ensure that citizens and visitors can enjoy clean and abundant water for generations to come. The event is sponsored by the Environmental Research Center.