January 5, 2010 — Kamin Whitehouse, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been recognized by the National Science Foundation's Advanced Network Infrastructure & Research Program.
Whitehouse's award of $410,000 supports his research in the field of cyber-physical systems. These systems possess the potential to completely change the way computer systems observe and manage the modern physical world. The problem these systems pose is that they are extremely complex.
"We are very interested in the computers of the future that will interact closely with the physical world," he said. "My work involves designing a prototype for how scientists and engineers will interact with these systems."
Whitehouse is seeking to develop a simpler cyber-physical system that can be used by a broad group of engineers and scientists. This research handles the endeavor of macroprogramming, which attempts to program an entire network of devices as a single programmable substrate. He hopes to use this approach to create a framework for cyber-physical systems he has named "Macrolab." He believes the new tools generated through Macrolab will significantly simplify the cyber-physical systems and allow science, engineering and society to reap the benefits.
"These systems possess the capability to collect data and use that information to improve safety and efficiency in the physical world," Whitehouse said. "For example, the fastest driving route based on current traffic patterns could be at our fingertips. This process of acquiring information, processing it and using it to promote efficiency is so valuable to the progress of our modern world."