NSF 'net-centric' research group links Texas universities, industry

March 10, 2009

DALLAS - From the intricacies of modern warfare to the time-sensitive demands of a commercial delivery service, technology integration answers the call for "faster, better, smarter." Southern Methodist University is part of a newly designated National Science Foundation research group charged with developing the next generation of "net-centric" solutions that will link people and resources.

The Net-Centric Software and Systems Industry/University Cooperative Research Center brings together researchers from SMU's Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, two other North Texas universities and 11 industry partners focused on both military and commercial technology. The National Science Foundation makes an initial investment in these approximately 40 cooperative research centers nationwide, but they are primarily supported by center members and focus on research recommended by industrial advisory boards.

"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."

"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.

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 combatants, decision makers and sensors toward a common goal.

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.
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Southern Methodist University

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