BU team wins $1M NSF grant with UMass and UConn for “Smart City” research

A team of faculty from BU ECE and CS, including Azer Bestavros and Assaf Kfoury, has won a new NSF grant to support their research project: A Cyber-Physical Infrastructure for the Smart City.

The project aims at making cities “smarter” by engineering processes such as traffic control, efficient parking services, and new urban activities such as recharging electric vehicles. To that end, the research will study the components needed to establish a Cyber-Physical Infrastructure for urban environments and address fundamental problems that involve data collection, resource allocation, real-time decision making, safety, and security. Accordingly, the research is organized along two main directions: (i) Sensing and data acquisition using a new mobile sensor network paradigm designed for urban environments; and (ii) Decision Support for the “Smart City” relying on formal verification and certification methods coupled with innovative dynamic optimization techniques used for decision making and resource allocation. The work will bring together and build upon methodological advances in optimization under uncertainty, computer simulation, discrete event and hybrid systems, control and games, system security, and formal verification and safety.

Target applications include: a “Smart Parking” system where parking spaces are optimally assigned and reserved, and vehicular traffic regulation. The research has the potential of revolutionizing the way cities are viewed: from a passive living and working environment to a highly dynamic one with new ways to deal with transportation, energy, and safety. Teaming up with stakeholders in the Boston Back Bay neighborhood, the City of Boston, and private industry, the research team expects to establish new collaborative models between universities and urban groups for cutting-edge research embedded in the deployment of an exciting technological, economic, and sociological development.

This is a collaborative research project with U Mass and U Conn.

The award totals $1M ($700K to BU + $150K to UMass + $150K to UConn).

The investigators in the project include:

  • Christos Cassandras (PI), Azer Bestavros, Assaf Kfoury, and Yannis Paschalidis [BU]
  • Weibo Gong [UMass Amherst]
  • Robert Gao [UConn]

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