Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components. Advances in CPS will enable capability, adaptability, scalability, resiliency, safety, security, reliability, and usability that will far exceed the simple embedded systems of today. CPS technology will transform the way people interact with engineered systems — just as the Internet has transformed the way people interact with information. New smart CPS will drive innovation and competition in sectors such as agriculture, energy, transportation, building design and automation, healthcare, and manufacturing.
Despite significant inroads into CPS technology in recent years, we do not yet have a mature science to support systems engineering of high-confidence CPS, and the consequences are profound. For example, as the Internet of Things (IoT) scales to billions of connected devices — with the capacity to sense, control, and otherwise interact with the human and physical world — the requirements for dependability, security, safety, and privacy grow immensely. The challenges and opportunities for CPS are thus significant and far-reaching. The goal of the CPS program is to develop the core system science needed to engineer complex cyber-physical systems that people can use or interact with and depend upon.
In 2017, NSF is working closely with multiple agencies of the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to identify basic research needs in CPS common across multiple application domains, along with opportunities for accelerated transition to practice.