SMU is a partner in a newly designated National Science Foundation research consortium aimed at building both military and commercial superiority by making technology faster, better and smarter.
The Net-Centric Software and Systems Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, which also includes two other universities and 11 companies, will focus on improving how complicated information is gathered, shared and used, from the battlefield to the boardroom.
For example, FedEx’s package tracking system, which links employees, customers, suppliers and partners, is an example of a commercial application of net-centric technology. And on the battlefield, where information superiority already translates to combat power, future net-centric systems will connect ground and air combat, linking shooters, decision makers and sensors toward a common goal.
“This opens a lot of doors,” said Jeff Tian, associate professor of computer science in SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering. “We envision this consortium becoming a leading research alliance in the United States. Because we can cooperate with the expertise of academic institutions and high-tech companies, we have much greater research capabilities than any one institution working alone.”
Academic partners in the consortium are Southern Methodist University, the University of North Texas and the University of Texas at Dallas. The center’s industry partners are Boeing, Cisco, Codekko Software, EDS/HP, Fujitsu, GlobeRanger, Hall Financial Group, Lockheed-Martin Aero, Raytheon, Texas Instruments and T-System.
“Net-centric” describes a continuously evolving, complex community of people, devices, information and services interconnected by a communications network that can instantaneously measure and apply all available resources to a particular challenge. It is becoming increasingly important for the realization of important defense, commercial, healthcare, education, communication, social networking and entertainment applications.
The consortium is one of approximately 40 such centers nationwide that develop long-term partnerships between industry, academia and government. The National Science Foundation makes an initial investment in these centers, but each one is primarily supported by center members. Their focus is on research recommended by industrial advisory boards. — Kim Cobb