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NSF Announces New Program in Smart and Autonomous Systems

NSF has recently announced a new program, entitled "Smart and Autonomous Systems".  The program focuses on Intelligent Physical Systems (IPS) that are cognizant, taskable, reflective, ethical, and knowledge-rich. The S&AS program welcomes research on IPS that are aware of their capabilities and limitations, leading to long-term autonomy requiring minimal or no human operator intervention. Example IPS include, but are not limited to, robotic platforms and networked systems that combine computing, sensing, communication, and actuation. Cognizant IPS exhibit high-level awareness beyond primitive actions, in support of persistent and long-term autonomy. Taskable IPS can interpret high-level, possibly vague, instructions, translating them into concrete actions that are dependent on the particular context in which the IPS is operating.  Reflective IPS can learn from their own experiences and those of other entities, such as other IPS or humans, and from instruction or observation; they may exhibit self-aware and self-optimizing capabilities. Ethical IPS should adhere to a system of societal and legal rules, taking those rules into account when making decisions. Knowledge-rich IPS employ a variety of representation and reasoning mechanisms, such as semantic, probabilistic and commonsense reasoning; are cognitively plausible; reason about uncertainty in decision making; and reason about the intentions of other entities in decision making.

The deadline for proposals is December 19, 2017.  The solicitation is open to universities, colleges, and non-profit research organizations located in the United States.  More information can be found at https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505325.  A webinar and FAQ are being prepared, and information will be listed on the program website (see above), when available.