Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Sign In
CES Home : NESTT-How it Works
Center for Embedded Systems, an National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.

I/UCRC How it Works

  • Center Funding: (1) industrial membership fees, (2) NSF I/UCRC grants to each university site, (3) university contributions (indirect cost waivers)

  • Industry Leadership: I/UCRCs governed by Industrial Advisory Boards (IAB) made up of the center members

  • Structure: IAB oversees center bylaws and establishes the center’s research agenda, project portfolio, and technology roadmap

  • Shared IP model: all members share resulting intellectual property


Motivation, Opportunities and Challenges of IoT

  • TheInternet of Things” (IoT) refers to the digitization of the world—the process of embedding microelectronic devices with integrated sensing, computing, actuation and communication functions in almost any object on the planet.
  • IoT provides an unprecedented opportunity for any enterprise to access enormous amounts of data over the internet for their business/operations optimization.
  • The present two-layer internet—with edge nodes and the cloud—will be overwhelmed by the massive amounts of data expected to be generated by IoT.
  • So to enable IoT will require a replacing the present two-layer network with a hierarchical, dynamic, multi-layered network consisting of edge devices, and a heterogeneous network of compute nodes, reaching the cloud.
  • This solution, known as Fog Computing, will enable every segment of industry, including automotive, manufacturing, healthcare, food processing and agriculture, communication, transportation, education, defense, and many more, to be engaged in the development and/or the utilization of IoT. IoT also gives rise to numerous new opportunities and challenges in technology, business, and its impact on society.
  • The massive amounts of data generated by the billions of nodes provides an unprecedented opportunity for achieving greater economies of scale by optimizing systems using machine learning and data-analytics. The use of such data-driven methods raises a multitude of new legal, ethical and business concerns
  • This also presents difficult technology challenges due to the fact that IoT involves distributed, real-time computations, that occur over a large and dynamically changing environment (e.g. processor load, link bandwidth, storage capacity, fault events, cyber security, power consumption and energy capacity etc.). 
  • Societal and business challenges will arise from the joint creation of software and hardware components by multiple entities, and the sharing and use of the massive amounts data.  These raise issues of liability, data ownership, IP ownership, ensuring equitable benefits of the technology, regulatory mechanisms to ensure privacy, security, and safety, and standardization to enable interoperability and transparency, and many other unforeseen consequences of IoT.  Additional business challenges include ways to monetize IoT when HW/SW components and data are created by numerous enterprises.

Vision of NESTT

Given that IoT will be massively disruptive technology, potentially affecting all segments of society, the vision of the proposed effort is to contribute to the creation of an equitable, safe and secure connected world to improve the quality of life for humanity. 

Planned Action


Fig. 1: A holistic I/UCRC:
Multiple scientific, engineering
and non-engineering
disciplines to solve complex
real-world problems

  • To realize the vision, we plan to establish a multi-disciplinary research center named NESTT—Networked, Embedded, Smart and Trusted Things.
  • It is to create holistic IoT solutions from the start (see Fig. 1) by combining expertise from multiple technology disciplines with expertise in law, business, medicine and humanities.
  • To address the diversity of the challenges, NESTT will be a multi-university center, with Arizona State University (ASU), Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of Arizona (UA) being the foundational members.
  • In addition to involving faculty from the traditional disciplines of science and engineering (electrical, computer), NESTT will also include faculty from the schools of business, law and humanities to address the many societal and business challenges that IoT presents.
  • NESTT will be founded on the principles and practices of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center model.
  • Workforce Development: The new workforce has to be technically nimble, and have the skills to rapidly acquire new skills. Technical skills of NESTT students will be supplemented with strong social skills and skills to collaborate with a wide range of disciplines outside the traditional science and engineering domains.